Cincinnati Bengals 2024 Predictions and Odds:

The right hand of Joe Burrow is arguably the biggest story in the NFL going into the 2024 season. The Bengals project to be favored in at least 14 of their 17 games and have the easiest schedule of the AFC North members. This division will be among the best in the league, but Cincinnati’s upside is undeniable, even with those six tough head-to-head matchups.

The last-place schedule could be a difference-maker with the Patriots, Titans, and Broncos on the slate.

 

Top NFL Resources:

Offense

The torn wrist ligament Burrow suffered in late November officially put an end to his season, but the strained calf from training camp made things difficult early in the campaign as well. Cincy started 1-3 as Burrow only completed 57.6% of his passes for 728 yards and a 2/2 TD/INT ratio over the first four games of the season.

Over the next seven games, he completed 72.5% of his tosses and had a 13/4 TD/INT ratio. While the Bengals only went 4-3 in that span, it sure felt like they had the opportunity to turn the corner. Unfortunately, Burrow went out in that seventh game and Jake Browning finished out the season.

The Burrow who finished fourth in MVP voting in 2022 would be a welcomed sight, but it is fair to wonder about not only the wrist, but also some of the lower-body injuries that have plagued him. Every team comes into the season with injury risk, but the Bengals go as Burrow goes.

With a rebuilt backfield now featuring Zack Moss instead of Joe Mixon and the 1-2 punch of Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins at WR, the Bengals are set up well. They also put a ton of money into the offensive line prior to Burrow’s injury in hopes of assisting there. Burrow’s former QB coach, Dan Pitcher, was promoted to OC after Brian Callahan took the Titans HC job.

Defense

On the defensive side, the Bengals will look similar. We’ll see if that is a good thing or a bad thing after a huge step back from Lou Anarumo’s crew in 2023. Cincinnati badly regressed against the run and struggled with the pass as well. They were 25th in Rush EPA against and 24th in Dropback EPA after finishing 14th and 7th, respectively, in those categories in 2022.

D.J. Reader, Chidobe Awuzie, and Nick Scott are the only notable losses, as the team reunited with Vonn Bell and brought in Geno Stone from the rival Ravens. The Bengals inked Sheldon Rankins to help against the run. Typically, we’d look for some negative regression from a team that was +10 in turnover differential, but the defense seemed to underperform last year, ranking 31st in yards allowed and surrendering six yards per play.

Outlook

Investing in Cincinnati Bengals futures carries a high degree of risk because of the nature of Burrow’s injury. In a perfect world, the defense bounces back, Burrow stays healthy, and Cincinnati takes advantage of a weak schedule, at least relative to everybody else in the division.

The floor is still pretty high, as evidenced by last season, as Browning admirably filled in and the Bengals still went 9-8 despite having a full-strength Burrow for just a handful of games. I’d lean Under 10.5 just because 11 wins is a big ask if Burrow misses more time or can’t come back from a pretty serious surgery, given the position he plays.

Cincinnati Bengals Pick: Under 10.5 Wins