A.J. Green, Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals will be a fun watch behind Joe Burrow in 2020

The Cincinnati Bengals may not win a ton of games in 2020, but they’ll be fun.

After going 2-14 last season, the Bengals landed the No. 1 overall pick and selected LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. Burrow, a native Ohioan, stormed onto the scene last year, throwing for 60 touchdowns while leading the Tigers to a national championship.

Burrow comes to a team short on defensive ability but long on playmakers, and it’s not unrealistic to expect fireworks from the jump.

The young signal-caller is getting a star-studded supporting cast including veteran receiver A.J. Green, who missed all of last season due to an ankle injury. Green is 31 years old but a seven-time Pro Bowler who in 2018, caught 75 passes for 1,078 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s paired with an up-and-comer in Tyler Boyd, who has posted consecutive 1,000-yard campaigns.

 

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General manager Duke Tobin also landed receiver Tee Higgins in the second round out of Clemson to round out the starting trio. With the Tigers, Higgins had 59 receptions each of the past two campaigns with 25 receiving touchdowns over that span.

In the backfield, Joe Mixon is a top-five running back. Mixon is entering the final year of his contract and while the Cincinnati Bengals isn’t known for handing out big deals, Tobin spoke recently about wanting to keep Mixon around for the long haul. Per NFL.com:

“Joe’s been a great player for us. We want him around here. We know what he is. He came in and earned it. He’s a guy that we’re proud of. Regardless of what’s in the draft next year or what’s in free agent, we know that Joe’s a piece that we want. We’ll work to see if that can come together.”

 

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Last season, Mixon rushed for 1,137 yards, this after amassing 1,168 rushing yards in 2018. He’s also a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield, totaling 78 receptions over the past two years.

Considering the difficulty of the AFC North, the youth of Burrow and the defensive woes, Cincinnati will still struggle. Expecting a worst-to-first sort of reversal is aggressive and a setup for disappointment.

Still, after years of feeling doomed with former head coach Marvin Lewis and quarterback Andy Dalton at the helm, there’s reason for legitimate, long-term optimism in the Queen City.

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