Are Bengals Primed To End 31 Year Playoff Win Drought vs Raiders?

Cincinnati Bengals, NFL News
NFL Analysis Network

The Cincinnati Bengals proved a lot of people wrong throughout the 2021 NFL season. There was some optimism that they would show improvement in Zac Taylor’s third season as head coach, especially since they would be getting back a healthy Joe Burrow.

Improve they did, as the Bengals had a six-win increase in 2021 from 2020, going from 4-11-1 to 10-7 and AFC North champions. They are going to be hosting the Las Vegas Raiders in a Wild Card matchup at Paul Brown Stadium as a result and will be looking to snap the longest playoff drought currently in the NFL.

It has been 30 seasons since Cincinnati last won a playoff game. Their last victory came in the 1991 Wild Card Round and they have gone 0-8 since. But, they are well-positioned to end that streak this year on the back of a very good offense.

Burrow was excellent in his second season. While the offensive line still has some issues, there is nothing wrong with the skill position group that he has. Joe Mixon leads the backfield, while rookie Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd are atop the wide receiver depth chart.

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When teams used to see the Cincinnati Bengals on the schedule, it was a game that was circled. Not because it would be difficult, but because the opponent knew it was an opportunity to get right and put their season back on track.

But, Mixon says that isn’t going on anymore. Teams see the Bengals on their schedule and are no longer laughing as they know they are in for a difficult game.

“Everybody was sleeping on us, everybody was not wanting to count us in,” Mixon said, via the team’s official website. “Now, we got all the right pieces here, we got all the things that we need to be able to play in games like this and where we’re able to compete for championships. That’s what Zac (Taylor) brought these guys in to do.

“Back then, everybody used to laugh at us on the schedule and be like, ‘Oh, we finna play the Bengals. It’s just a stat week. Now it ain’t no laughing, ain’t no playing and joking no more, they know what’s going on, they know how we coming.”

The Bengals became only the third team in NFL history to have a 4,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-yard receiver in Burrow, Mixon and Chase, to surpass those numbers in their age 25 or younger season. But, they are the first team ever to have two receivers reach that benchmark, as Higgins, who is 22, also surpassed 1,000 yards.

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This Cincinnati Bengals team is primed to have a good showing in the postseason. With their home crowd behind them, they will be motivated to snap that streak and push toward their first Super Bowl appearance since Super Bowl XXIII in 1989.