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Belief in Burrow Could Buoy Young Bengals' Chances of Making Playoff Run

Cincinnati snapped their 31-year playoff drought last week.

CINCINNATI — C.J. Uzomah's "Why Not Us?" slogan has gotten plenty of attention over the past few months, but it's a question that every Bengals fan is asking ahead of Saturday's divisional round matchup against the Titans. 

Yes, Tennessee is the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The game is in Nashville and their absolute animal of a running back named Derrick Henry will be back on the field for the first time since Halloween. 

They have two great defensive linemen, high-end safeties and Mike Vrabel at head coach, who will likely edge out Zac Taylor for Coach of the Year. 

So why do the Bengals have a chance to win on Saturday? Why are fans confident that this team can upset the No. 1 seed and win a road playoff game for the first time in franchise history? 

Joe Burrow. 

Bengals fans aren't accustomed to having this feeling. In fact, unless your favorite team has a quarterback named Brady, Manning, Mahomes, Rodgers or a few others—you've probably never felt what Cincinnati is feeling.

The Bengals have a clear edge at the most important position in all of sports. He's been arguably the best quarterback in the league over the past five weeks. 

Burrow has a quarterback rating of 103.8 or better in each of his last five starts. In the past three games he's completed 76.5% of his passes for 1,215 yards, 10 touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 136.4% quarterback rating. The Bengals are 3-0 over that span, which includes wins over the Chiefs and Raiders.

The "Burrow Effect" is real. 

"He’s super confident. You always want to put the ball in his hand," star defensive tackle D.J. Reader said this week. "We see him on the sideline, we see him at practice, we know he’s special. We got all the faith in him. That’s really our main focus. We know he’s special, we know he’s gonna get us out of tough situations, we believe in him.”

Burrow has shown the ability to get the Bengals out of tough spots time and time again. When his offensive line doesn't hold up, he finds a way to escape the pocket. When the defense is getting beat, he finds a way to light up the scoreboard. 

This Bengals team isn't perfect, but Burrow has shown the ability to hide their flaws in crucial moments. 

Belief in the second-year quarterback isn't just in the locker room. It bounces off the walls of Paul Brown Stadium to reach Bengals fans far and wide. 

Burrow wants to win championships. He sets the bar high and he isn't surprised that the Bengals are having so much success in his second season. 

"I thought it would happen a little faster, to be honest. I thought it would happen last year," Burrow said this week. "This is how it's gonna be from here on out. It was a great win [over the Raiders] for us. But now this is the standard for the bare minimum every year going forward."

The Bengals might not win the Super Bowl this season. They might not leave Nashville with a win on Saturday. But for the first time in a long time, the fan base, the city, the franchise has hope and a real chance to make a run. 

Why not do it this season? 

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