After the Cincinnati Bengals got to .500 for the first time this season when beating the New Orleans Saints back in Week 6, quarterback Joe Burrow had a big prediction to share.
With the Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, and Carolina Panthers next on the schedule, Burrow described the importance of that stretch.
“Those three games, I think, will determine how our season goes,” said the Bengals quarterback. He compared their situation at the time with last year’s when the team entered the bye week 5-4.
“That bye week, you want to enjoy. So 6-3 just sounds a lot better than 5-4. When you’re sitting on your couch thinking about how your season has gone so far, 6-3 sounds a lot better.”
By now, you’ve read all about the Bengals being in the same spot as last year record-wise. But surely, Burrow doesn’t want his own assertion to be true.
If the season ended today, Cincinnati would be out of the playoffs.
That’s mainly because of the egg they laid versus the Browns. After going 2-1 in that stretch, they currently trail the New York Jets (6-3), Buffalo Bills (6-3), and New England Patriots (5-4) in the wild-card race.
Although they’re also out of the playoff race, the L.A. Chargers are also ranked above the Bengals.
Since Cincinnati has a losing record within the conference, they have very little room for error.
And there’s one very specific thing that will truly define the season. After teams that generate QB pressure, the Bengals have struggled. They’ll see a lot of that moving forward.
From here on to the end of the season (perhaps except for the Baltimore Ravens), every team they’re facing can get to the QB. That starts with T.J. Watt and the Steelers next Sunday.
Burrow has proven everyone wrong before. But this time, it’s himself he needs to disprove as he attempts to make the next stretch of games the meaningful one.