Listen, I’m not saying Joe Burrow is a lock to win the 2022 NFL MVP. But, Burrow having the 5th-best odds at +1200 on FanDuel Sportsbook is a pricing error.
Many have pegged the Bengals for regression this season after their quasi-miraculous playoff run, despite a negative schedule adjusted efficiency grade by Football Outsiders during the regular season. Cincy goes from “hunter” to “hunted” after the Super Bowl appearance. The Bengals go from the 3rd-easiest strength of schedule (per Football Outsiders) in 2021 to the 7th-toughest according to projected Vegas win totals.
However, people are overthinking this Cincinnati Bengals and Joe Burrow thing. First of all, Burrow is the real deal. Burrow bounced back from a season-ending knee injury in his rookie year, finishing 2nd in QB Rating and 1st in yards per attempt last year even though he was the most sacked QB in the NFL.
When you dig deeper, Burrow’s numbers become more impressive. Burrow was Pro Football Focus’s (PFF) highest graded QB in 2021. He was 1st in both QB Rating from a clean pocket and on-target %. Burrow is also 3rd in both QB Rating while under pressure and QB rating on 3rd down.
And keep in mind, Burrow’s weapons are among the best in the NFL. WR Ja’Marr Chase won the 2021 Offensive Rookie of the Year and is already a top-5 wideout. Third-year WR Tee Higgins is a deep threat that can take the top off a defense. WR Tyler Boyd is one of the best slot WRs in the league.
Furthermore, Cincy’s front office addressed its biggest concern this offseason: The offensive line. The Bengals acquired 3 new offensive linemen, all of which rank in the top 20 of their position per PFF. If Cincy’s offensive line can keep Burrow upright this season, he is going to carve up defenses.
The 2022 Cincinnati Bengals are better than last year’s Super Bowl version but will only go as far as Burrow takes them. Barring injury, Burrow’s numbers are going to be sick because he is too talented and has too many weapons. If the Bengals win a 2nd consecutive AFC North crown and win 10-plus games, Burrow’s NFL MVP ticket will look real juicy.
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