CINCINNATI – Look, it’s May. There is such a long way go before the 2022 NFL season plays out.

But, that doesn’t mean we can’t predict what’s going to happen during the regular season.

NFL Network’s Cynthia Frelund recently released her way-too-early AFC playoff seeding predictions for the upcoming season and if you look closely, you’ll notice something rather peculiar:

The Bengals miss the playoffs according to Frelund’s algorithm

To be clear, Frelund isn’t making these predictions, herself. It’s an algorithm. However, she does bear some responsibility since it’s her algorithm.

Make no mistake: Frelund does great work and is one of the top minds in the business. But this is quite the surprise when considering where things currently stand with the Bengals and the AFC North.

The Bengals have filled just about every single hole from last year’s roster with better players. They still have questions at tight end and one of the guard positions, but overall, things are looking rather rosy for the reigning AFC champs.

What compounds the situation is Frelund has the Bengals winning nine games or less. As you can see, the Ravens are the No. 4 seed with 9.0 total wins. This means Baltimore is AFC North champions and they hold some sort of tiebreaker over the Bengals.

The AFC West is also a catalyst behind the Bengals missing out on the postseason in this hypothetical scenario. While it’s easy to get carried away based off the moves all four teams made, it’s hard to not envision these teams “eating” each other as the season progresses. If all four teams are supposed to be as good as they look in May, then it’s likely that at least one team gets knocked out of the playoff race based solely off the level of competition within the division. All four teams finish with more than nine wins, cementing the fact the Bengals finish 9-8 or worse in 2022.

Granted, it’s football: anything can happen. But as long as there are no major injuries, the AFC North is there for the Bengals’ taking. And Frelund’s algorithm is serving them a massive helping of disrespect.

You can check out the full segment with Frelund, here.

Featured image via Kareem Elgazzar via Imagn Content Services, LLC