• Fri. Feb 3rd, 2023

By Conrad Clowers

Herald Sports Writer

Two weekends ago the Bengals came off of their bye weekend with a victory over the Pittsburg Steelers.

It was the Bengals 6th victory in the past 8 games. The team has righted the ship that looked to have been sailing in the wrong direction after an 0-2 start. The team is finding 2022 much more challenging than 2021. Injuries to key players have started to set in. With the injuries added to one of the NFL’s most difficult remaining schedules, the Bengals will have a tough going the rest of the way if they want to put themselves in a position to go to and or win Super Bowl 57.

Ja’Marr Chase has been arguably the Bengals second most important player. Last year, Chase was named rookie of the year and already has over 600 yards receiving before being sidelined by a hip injury. Chase is the Bengals biggest offensive threat. The 2021 top pic not being in the lineup has noticeably made Cincinnati alter their offense. The Bengals hope to have the game breaker back in the lineup in December.   

While Chase may be the Bengals biggest offensive threat, the team is really hurting with defensive standouts out. Defensive lineman D.J. Reader is the Bengals biggest run stuffing threat. Reader has missed multiple games due to an ankle injury. Opposing teams have been much more effective running the ball against the Bengals with Reader out. For the first time since his early season injury Reader was activated.

The Bengals also have had the dreaded season ending injury also to cornerback Chidobe Awuzie. Awuzie tore his ACL in a game against the Cleveland Browns. Awuzie’s absence will undoubtedly leave  a huge hole in the Bengals defensive backfield.

There’s an old saying. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Well, it’s not going to get any tougher for the Bengals. After defeating Tennessee Titans in Nashville last weekend, the teams remaining on the schedule are Kansas City, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, New England, Buffalo and Baltimore. All the teams are either at the top of their division, have  winning records, or both other than the Cleveland Browns.

The team also defeated defeated Tennessee in the playoffs last season.

Cincinnati is currently in second place behind the Baltimore Ravens.