The Cincinnati Bengals came into this season as one of the favorites, if not the favorites, to come out of the AFC and represent the conference in the Super Bowl.
But they’re now 0-2 after losing to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, and there is legitimate concern about their prospects moving forward.
Star quarterback Joe Burrow aggravated a strained calf he originally suffered early in training camp, and there is a possibility he may not play in Week 3 versus the Los Angeles Rams.
Analyst Craig Carton says that because of Burrow’s injury, the Bengals’ season is over.
"The Bengals season is over. Without a healthy Joe Burrow, this team is in trouble."
— The Carton Show (@TheCartonShow) September 18, 2023
At first, it may sound like a very hot take, but the reality is that if Burrow isn’t healthy enough to play without any real risk of making the injury worse or suffering another injury as a result, Cincinnati is in lots of trouble.
Both of their losses have come to teams in their own division — the Ravens and the Cleveland Browns — which greatly reduces their chances of finishing first at the end of the season.
If there is a glimmer of hope for them, it’s the fact that they also started 0-2 last year, only to finish first in the AFC North with a 12-4 record.
But they have other things to be worried about moving forward.
Star wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins are due soon for contract extensions, and after the Bengals gave Burrow a gigantic extension of his own, they may not be able to afford to keep both Chase and Higgins.
If they don’t get the job done this year, their chances of winning their first-ever Super Bowl may only diminish.NEXT: Analyst Mentions Ravens, Dolphins Among AFC Elite