The ‘biggest surprise’ about Bengals becoming NFL’s breakout team

8 months ago 117

LAS VEGAS — It was evident it would instrumentality immoderate clip for Joe Burrow, the No. 1 wide prime successful the 2020 draft, to alteration the Bengals’ stripes from losers to morganatic contenders. It figured to instrumentality much than a year.

If the playoffs were to commencement this week, Cincinnati (5-2) would beryllium the apical effect successful the AFC, lone 17 games into Burrow’s NFL career. Of course, the playoffs bash not commencement this week due to the fact that the Bengals volition beryllium playing the Jets, who person nary postseason hopes.

A team’s fortunes tin alteration quickly, for amended oregon worse, and the Bengals’ emergence from the bottommost to the apical of the AFC North has happened successful 2 months. With 10 games remaining successful the regular season, this is not adjacent fractional of the story, but Burrow is turning oddsmakers and skeptics into believers successful the Bengals.

“First of all, Burrow is legit, and there’s nary question astir that,” said Vinny Magliulo, VSiN oddsmaker and Gaughan Gaming sportsbook director. “The biggest astonishment to maine astir the Bengals is their defense, and their defence is good.”

Joe Burrow led the Bengals to a triumph   implicit    the Ravens connected  Oct. 24, 2021.Joe Burrow led the Bengals to a triumph implicit the Ravens connected Oct. 24, 2021.USA TODAY Sports

No squad made a bolder connection Sunday than the Bengals, who were 6-point underdogs successful a 41-17 blowout of Baltimore. Burrow passed for a career-high 416 yards and 3 touchdowns, and the Cincinnati defence sacked Ravens backmost Lamar Jackson 5 times.

In the offseason, BetMGM posted the Bengals’ play triumph full astatine 6.5, and Cincinnati’s likelihood to triumph the part ranged from 20/1 to 30/1 astatine assorted sportsbooks. The oddsmakers are occasionally wrong.

Remember erstwhile the AFC North was considered a three-horse contention and the horses successful the moving were the Browns, Ravens and Steelers? The Bengals person 2 losses, each by 3 points, and ain double-digit victories implicit Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

The Jets (1-5) anticipation backmost Zach Wilson, this year’s 2nd wide pick, tin enactment a Burrow-like franchise turnaround successful the future, but that’s not happening immoderate clip soon. Wilson near Sunday’s 54-13 nonaccomplishment astatine New England with a genu wounded and is retired 2-4 weeks.

The Bengals were listed arsenic 3.5-point roadworthy favorites against the Jets connected past week’s lookahead line. With Mike White starting successful spot of Wilson, combined with the teams’ disparate results successful Week 7, the existent enactment is Cincinnati -9.5.

Burrow started 10 games arsenic a rookie, and the Bengals went 2-7-1 successful those crippled earlier a genu wounded ended his season. He has 17 touchdown passes successful 7 starts this season, 2 years aft helium totaled 60 touchdown passes and led LSU to the 2019 nationalist championship. His favourite receiver connected that undefeated Tigers squad was Ja’Marr Chase, who had 8 catches for 201 yards Sunday arsenic Burrow and Chase treated the Ravens similar they were Vanderbilt.

After facing and, presumably, face-planting the Jets, Cincinnati volition get into the teeth of its docket against the Browns, Raiders, Steelers and Chargers. Las Vegas (5-2), the existent No. 2 effect successful the AFC, hosts the Bengals connected Nov. 21.

There’s a agelong mode to spell to determine the Bengals’ playoff fate. Cincinnati’s last 3 games volition beryllium against the Ravens, Chiefs and Browns. Kansas City, the preseason favourite successful the AFC, is 3-4 and tied for past successful its division.

“I similar what the Bengals are doing with Burrow,” DraftKings sportsbook manager John Avello said. “Do I judge successful them? I inactive deliberation Baltimore oregon the Browns extremity up winning that division. If [injured quarterback] Baker Mayfield is physically capable, I deliberation the Browns are amended than the Bengals.

“I’m not definite the Bengals are a playoff team. You person got to instrumentality the Chiefs into consideration. If the Chiefs aren’t going to beryllium successful the mix, it opens it up for a fewer different teams. The Raiders are an OK team, and I consciousness akin astir the Chargers. When it’s each said and done, who is going to triumph the AFC West? I deliberation 9 oregon 10 wins is capable to triumph the division. I can’t constitute the Chiefs disconnected yet. It could crook astir existent quick.”

Ja'Marr Chase breaks escaped  for a Bengals touchdown against the Ravens connected  Oct. 24, 2021.Ja’Marr Chase breaks escaped for a Bengals touchdown against the Ravens connected Oct. 24, 2021.Getty Images

Burrow is opening to pull comparisons to Tom Brady and Joe Montana, but it’s much close to enactment Burrow up adjacent to Cardinals backmost Kyler Murray, the apical wide prime of the 2019 draft.

The astir appealing showdown of the Week 8 docket is connected Thursday, for a change. Arizona (7-0) is simply a 6-point favourite against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, who are riding a six-game winning streak.

The NFC has different marquee matchup connected Sunday night, erstwhile the Cowboys (6-0 ATS) travel disconnected the bye arsenic 2-point favorites astatine Minnesota. The Vikings opened the play with a 27-24 nonaccomplishment astatine Cincinnati, and that was considered a atrocious nonaccomplishment astatine the time. In reality, it was conscionable the opening of the emergence for Burrow and the Bengals.

l DraftKings is hosting the Sports Betting National Championship from Nov. 5-7 successful Weehawken, N.J. The three-day handicapping contention — consisting of NFL, assemblage shot and NBA games — guarantees $2 cardinal successful prize wealth and requires a $10,000 introduction fee. More details are disposable astatine

“People tin amusement up astatine the venue successful New Jersey oregon they tin play from 8 different states,” Avello said.