Friday, September 8, 2023

Cincinnati Bengals Week 1 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2023 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 2023 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 3

On the hot seat: OT Jackson Carman

In training camp, Carman has played at right tackle to see how he might fare at the spot, if not for this season then in 2024, when he could be a potential replacement for Jonah Williams. But instead, Carman struggled with consistency and was promptly moved to left tackle after his showing in the team's preseason opener against Green Bay. The 2021 second-round pick has struggled to win starting jobs in Cincinnati despite being positioned for success. If that trend continues into his third season, it doesn't bode well for his long-term outlook with the Bengals. -- Ben Baby -- Rank: 5

This summer, coach Zac Taylor called the Bengals' roster the deepest he's had since he was hired in 2019. One major question heading into the regular season: Is it the final year for Tee Higgins in Cincinnati? Presumably, Joe Burrow's extension will get done soon enough, but Higgins' future seems less certain. At the very least, the Bengals hedged this year in drafting WRs Charlie Jones and Andrei Iosivas -- and keeping them on the 53-man roster over special-teams ace Stanley Morgan. They took a similar approach in 2022, drafting DBs Dax Hill and Cam Taylor-Britt in Rounds 1 and 2 prior to walk years for safeties Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 4

With Joe Burrow throwing it to those dynamic playmakers outside, the Bengals will be fun to watch on offense again. The defense is what will decide their season since there has been some changes.

USA Today -- Rank: 3

A new tandem of safeties probably trumps offensive line as Cincinnati's main concern ... even if QB Joe Burrow's calf is an early reason for trepidation.

The Athletic -- Rank: 3

Best-case scenario: Joe Burrow wears a very silly outfit that only he can pull off at the Bengals' Super Bowl parade. The addition of Orlando Brown Jr. makes a big difference in protecting Burrow, and he's able to hold the ball a touch longer than a season ago when he finished second to Tom Brady in average time to throw. Despite the offseason turnover on defense, the unit gets better as the season goes on and defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo dials up three consecutive perfect game plans on the way to winning the Lombardi Trophy.

Worst-case scenario: Burrow's calf injury hampers him enough to matter, the defense struggles big time, and the quality of the AFC North is enough to keep the Bengals just on the outside of the playoffs. Ownership opts to let Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd leave via free agency, and Bengals fans feel ill reading this sentence.

FOX -- Rank: 3

Is this the last ride for the Bengals squad we've gotten used to? Obviously, Joe Burrow isn't going anywhere. But that imminent contract extension will make it tougher to keep this team together, and both Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd are entering contract seasons, with Ja'Marr Chase a year away. Don't overlook the losses of Jessie Bates III and Von Bell in the secondary, either. This is still one of the best rosters in the league, but there should be a sense of urgency to strike while the iron is hot in Cincinnati.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 3

Joe Burrow's calf injury isn't a big deal anymore, and that's a big key for the Bengals. Their Week 1 game at the Browns will set the early tone for the AFC North race this season.

PFT -- Rank: 4

It's easy to forget that, for a while in the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship, it felt like the Bengals were going to win the game.

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