After hearing some recent comments from Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, I’m convinced that the AFC North battle might already be over.
That’s of course assuming everyone on Cincinnati’s roster stays healthy.
We know all about the offense with Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon, Ja’Marr Chase, and Tee Higgins — it’s as elite as any offense in the NFL.
But what really could take the Bengals to the next level this season is their defense.
And based on what Anarumo had to say recently, it sounds like Cincinnati’s defense is going to be a force in 2022.
Cincinnati reported this week that Anarumo said “it’s rare for a defense to show the impact of its continuity and versatility this early in training camp”.
That versatility has allowed Anarumo to get creative with the way he’s using Bengals defenders.
Some really fun wrinkles by the Bengals defense as they simulated a two-minute drill.
— Joseph Ossai lined up on the inside as an interior pass rusher
— Mike Thomas was the third safety. That put Dax Hill in the box playing zone coverage over the middle next to Logan Wilson.
— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) August 19, 2022
A dominant offense and a dominant defense?
I feel bad for the other teams in the AFC North. The Cleveland Browns are going to be a mess this season with Deshaun Watson suspended for 11 games.
And the Pittsburgh Steelers don’t have the quarterback to keep up with Burrow.
That leaves the Baltimore Ravens as the one legitimate threat to the Bengals this season.
They have a former MVP at quarterback in Lamar Jackson, so you can’t rule Baltimore out.
But if the Bengals’ defense is as advertised this season, it’s going to be lights out for the rest of the division by Thanksgiving.