CINCINNATI — The Bengals surprised the NFL last season by not only winning the AFC North, but making it all the way to Super Bowl LVI.
Despite their success, there are plenty of people doubting that Cincinnati can make another playoff run.
They were the first team on CBS Sports' list of division champions that had the "shakiest" chances of repeating in 2022.
"It's not that we're down on the Bengals. Joe Burrow and their play-makers are the real deal, and they wisely addressed the O-line," Cody Benjamin wrote. "The defense is also underrated. But they've got a tough schedule with an absolutely brutal finish (their final eight are against projected playoff teams), and the division is always tight. It'd be a surprise if at least two of their rivals didn't challenge for the title; the Ravens should be much healthier, the Steelers are never losers under Mike Tomlin, and the Browns still have lots of talent."
The AFC North is absolutely loaded. The Steelers should be better without Ben Roethlisberger, the Browns upgraded at quarterback, even with Deshaun Watson's potential suspension lingering and the Ravens will likely have better injury luck.
The Bengals are also better. Burrow isn't coming off of a torn ACL. Ja'Marr Chase isn't knocking off the rust after taking a year off. They also added three crucial pieces to their offensive line and kept the majority of their key free agents.
There's no reason why the Bengals can't repeat in the AFC North and make another run. Sure, the teams in the division are better, but Cincinnati addressed their biggest needs this offseason.
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