Predictions that the Bengals would win the AFC title for the 2021 season were all but impossible to find at this time last year, but the team made more progress than expected and wound up losing a close Super Bowl to the Rams in Los Angeles in February.
On Tuesday, quarterback Joe Burrow said that “we know what it takes” to win now and that’s not the only change to the team’s circumstances this time around. The rest of the league knows that they can win as well and any thought that teams will take it easy against them is a wishful one.
Wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase said that the team has to embrace their new standing as they prepare to defend their conference title.
“Now we just have to add the expectation we’re one of the best in the league and we have to keep that expectation and roll with it,” Chase said, via the team’s website. “Every game is a tough game in the NFL. We’re not worried about our X. Everybody has an X on their back.”
The Bengals have been overshadowed a bit in the offseason because of the big moves made by other AFC teams trying to get to where they were last season. That expanded number of contenders should make it easier for teams to recognize the importance of each game as they try to position themselves for the postseason.