Saturday, September 10, 2022

Cincinnati Bengals Week 1 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2022 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 1 roundup for the Cincinnati Bengals in our consensus 2022 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 5

Who's on the hot seat: CB Eli Apple

Sticking Apple on the hot seat feels weird because he just got a new contract from a franchise that is very confident in his ability to be a quality NFL starter, which he has displayed throughout training camp. However, Apple is on a one-year deal, and the Bengals took cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt in the second round of this year's draft. It'll be up to Apple to continue to prove to the Bengals and others around the league that he's worth a long-term investment after this season. -- Rank: 5

Is the offensive line finally fixed? Aaron Donald ripped through Cincinnati's blocking front and stole franchise glory from the Bengals in the final seconds of Super Bowl LVI. When Joe Burrow limped off the field at SoFi Stadium, it was already clear what needed to be done. Enter a revamped front five in Cincy: Jonah Williams, Cordell Volson, Ted Karras, Alex Cappa and La'el Collins. If the line turns a team weakness into a strength, you can make a strong case for the Bengals having the best offensive attack in football. Keep Burrow upright, and Cincinnati might just find itself back in the big game come February.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 5

With the offensive line improved, that side of the ball with Joe Burrow will be even better. The defense really came on late last season, which should carry over. They are the best team in their division.

The Athletic -- Rank: 7

The good news: You've seen Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase play, yes?

The bad news: The league seems to not fully respect the Bengals as the AFC's defending champions. Said one executive to our Mike Sando: "The O-line is better, but I don't think it's good. … They put a Band-Aid on it. Burrow has the appendix. When is he taking contact? That is a painful injury with a guy who has a bad offensive line, so I think it's OK to hedge a little bit."

Aha, nameless executive! Burrow literally does not "have the appendix."

Nugget to remember: Chase might establish himself as the best wide receiver in football this year. You probably know his 1,455 receiving yards broke Justin Jefferson's long-standing post-merger NFL rookie receiving record. But because he played 17 games, Chase only ranked fourth in rookie receiving yards per game all time. The top two? Jefferson at No. 2 and Odell Beckham Jr. at No. 1. All in the LSU, ahem, fyaaamly.

The Ringer -- Rank: 7

The Bengals overachieved last season. With question marks across the defense and offensive lines and quarterback Joe Burrow coming off an injury, only the Lions and Texans had worse odds to win the Super Bowl prior to Week 1 of the 2021 season. Fast-forward one year, and expectations for Burrow's Bengals are significantly higher. With a rebuilt offensive line, arguably the NFL's best receiving corps, and Burrow, the Bengals' expectation floor is winning multiple playoff games.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 10

There hasn't been much talk about Joe Burrow's appendectomy. He returned to practice fairly soon after the procedure and seems good to go. Apparently, there won't be any issues going forward, which is good news for one of the NFL's young stars.

PFT -- Rank: 6

Will 80-percent turnover make the offensive line better? It can't really be much worse than it was in the postseason.

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