Pro Football Focus made several predictions this week for the AFC North in 2022 and two of their predictions would be absolutely disastrous for the Cincinnati Bengals.

PFF predicted that Cincinnati will miss the playoffs this season just a year after reaching the Super Bowl.

From PFF:

Cincinnati clearly overachieved last season, going on a postseason run that came tantalizingly close to a championship, but that type of lightning in a bottle is difficult to capture twice. To the team’s credit, it clearly recognized the issues and did a fantastic job of reworking the offensive line this offseason to remove the biggest area of weakness. There is a lot to like about this team, and it’s strongest in the right areas, but the AFC is an incredible gauntlet this year and some good teams are going to miss out. The AFC West looks like the strongest division in football, but the North isn’t far behind. It wouldn’t take a lot for the Bengals to go from Super Bowl losers to missing the postseason entirely.

They also predicted that Joe Burrow will be one of the most sacked quarterbacks in the NFL again in 2022, despite the improvements the Bengals made to the offensive line this offseason.

From PFF:

Cincinnati’s line is much improved this offseason, but Burrow may not improve his average time to throw or modify a play style that risks sacks by trying to extend the play and keep drives alive. Only three other quarterbacks saw a higher percentage of pressured plays result in sacks than Burrow last season, and that’s a quarterback-driven data point. It might not necessarily be a bad thing, but Burrow’s play will likely determine how often he gets sacked in 2022 as much as the new-look offensive line does.

Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws during organized team activities practice, Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Bengals Football Practice June 14 0056

It feels like the national media is working really hard this offseason to discredit the Bengals in 2022.

And I’m not sure why.

Cincinnati was one of the best stories in sports last season. Burrow legitimately looks like the next Tom Brady. These incredible storylines are something you’d think the national media would love. But apparently not.

I don’t think the Bengals are going to cruise through the AFC North in 2022 — there are three other solid teams in the division that will have plenty to say about that. But they should still be considered the favorites.

There’s no reason to think that Cincinnati is going to miss the playoffs this season. The team improved its biggest weakness this offseason — the offensive line (which makes that second prediction a bit bizarre) — which should give fans even more confidence that this team has what it takes to get back to the Super Bowl and bring the Lombardi Trophy home this time.

Featured image via Albert Cesare / The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK