The Cincinnati Bengals will face high expectations in 2022 after reaching the Super Bowl last year, but could their season end up getting off to a bad start?

NFL Network’s Cynthia Frelund thinks that could be the case.

Earlier this week, Frelund put the Bengals on “upset alert” for their week one regular-season matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) evades Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) in the third quarter of the NFL Week 12 game between the Cincinnati and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. The Bengals beat the Steelers 41-10.
Pittsburgh Steelers At Cincinnati

Frelund cited the Steelers’ tough defense as the biggest reason she thinks Cincinnati could get off to an 0-1 start in 2022.

There’s no doubt this will be a tough matchup for the Bengals — Pittsburgh’s defense is the real deal.

But this is still a quarterback-driven league and Cincinnati clearly has the better quarterback (we don’t even know if Mitch Trubisky or Kenny Pickett will be the Steelers’ starting quarterback in 2022).

The Bengals cruised to easy wins in both matchups against Pittsburgh last season — including a 41-10 shellacking in Cincinnati in late November. The season-opener against the Steelers in 2022 will be played at Paul Brown Stadium, which is certainly an advantage for the Bengals.

Pittsburgh hasn’t won in Cincinnati since 2019. It’s hard to imagine Burrow letting that happen to open the season in 2022. The Bengals need to be well-prepared for the Steelers, but I don’t see Cincy losing this game.

Featured image via Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports