Bengals projection for 2022 season

Chris Roling
Bengals Wire

The Cincinnati Bengals are one of the most interesting teams to project in recent years.

Those Bengals bulldozed their way to the Super Bowl last year despite a struggling offensive line, years of rebuilding and a quarterback coming back early from a season-ending knee injury.

For some, the run was almost a fluke as the team got hot at the right time and regression will surely follow. For others, the team could only get better in 2022 as things keep clicking and that offensive line got upgraded multiple times.

One set of projections, at least, has the Bengals racking up 12 wins and earning the fifth seed in the AFC. USA TODAY's Nate Davis applauds how Cincinnati used free agency this offseason to bolster the offensive line and doesn't think a holdout from star safety Jessie Bates will derail the train. Quarterback Joe Burrow will be assisted by Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd and strength of schedule will also help the Bengals return to the playoffs.

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) turns downfield after completing a catch during organized team activities practice, Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

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The 12-5 record is identical to Baltimore's, though the Ravens win the division and have the second seed in the AFC in these projections.

Training camp is an interesting beast that could decide much for the Bengals this year as the writeup mentions. The team upgraded the offensive line three times and hopes second-round product Jackson Carman can fend off fourth-round rookie Cordell Volson for the other starting spot.

While the line needs to mesh well in camp, coaches can’t actually complain too much about Jessie Bates’ absence because it means first-round rookie Dax Hill gets the first-team reps. The defense somehow remains one of the most overlooked units in the league.