The Cincinnati Bengals were expected to be Super Bowl contenders going into this season, but they have looked anything but the sort thus far.
After two weeks, the Bengals have slumped to an 0-2 start, most recently losing to the Baltimore Ravens this past Sunday.
Of course, Cincinnati also begun the 2022 campaign 0-2 and ended up making it all the way to the AFC Championship Game, but Fox Sports analyst Nick Wright thinks circumstances are a bit different this time around.
Wright cites a banged up Joe Burrow and Cincy’s tough upcoming schedule as reasons why the Bengals will not be repeating their 2022 run, where they ended up going 12-4 (their Week 17 matchup against the Buffalo Bills was cancelled due to Damar Hamlin’s devastating injury). That included a stretch in which they reeled off 10 consecutive wins, including playoff victories over the Ravens and Bills.
Burrow is currently dealing with a calf injury, and his status for Cincinnati’s Week 3 Monday night game with the Los Angeles Rams is in question as a result.
Wright also mentions that the Bengals are already 0-2 in their own division, and with the AFC North looking improved this season, that could certainly spell trouble for Cincinnati the rest of the way.
Basically, Wright thinks Zac Taylor’s group is all but done.
In addition to their divisional matchups, the Bengals also have games against the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs.
Since 1990, only 31 of the 270 NFL teams who have started the season 0-2 have made the playoffs, so the odds are stacked against Cincinnati.
That being said, Burrow and Co. did it last year, so perhaps the experience from 2022 can propel them forward this season. But naturally, Burrow obviously needs to be healthy for the Bengals to make any sort of serious run.