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D.J. Reader is adamant that the AFC North runs through Cincinnati

Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated.

Let the trash-talking for the upcoming NFL campaign begin. The 2022 regular-season schedule announcement on Thursday signifies that a new year of football is on the horizon. For the Cincinnati Bengals, the expectations will be as high as possible. The team is coming off the first-ever Super Bowl appearance since 1989. Recently interviewed Bengals defensive tackle D.J. Reader. He expressed his optimism for the Bengals chances of being a competitive football team. NBC’s Pro Football Talk has the details.

“The Bengals won the AFC North title and the AFC Championship in 2021. However, they currently are not favored to win their division in 2022.

PointsBet has the Ravens and Browns at +200 each to capture the AFC North crown. The Browns are just behind, at +210. (And it is very bizarre to see the Steelers bringing up the rear at +800.)

I don’t know,” Reader said when asked about the Browns being favored to win the division via “I watched a couple of UFC fights this weekend. Vegas gets it wrong sometimes, too. They win most of the time, they’re the house, but they get it wrong a lot of times too.”

It’s ultimately irrelevant to Reader, as his word demonstrates.

“Who cares?” he said. “It seems like it goes through us right now, so until somebody comes and takes it from us, I’m gonna be confident in us.”

He should be. The Bengals have great players, and they’ve addressed their most glaring weakness — the offensive line. So yes, the Bengals should be confident. In contrast, it won’t be easy to get back to the Super Bowl. it makes sense to pick them to win the division again.”

Last year, many things seemed to bounce the Bengals way into their first Super Bowl trip since the late 1980s. But unfortunately, the Browns never quite lived up to their preseason hype, the Ravens fell apart because of injuries, and Ben Roethlisberger’s decline became full circle for the Steelers. Unless those teams have the same rash of injuries again, the AFC North will become a tough division to conquer.

Cleveland made one of the biggest splashes of the offseason when they acquired superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans. Nevertheless, Cincinnati should feel confident in its chances of repeating as division champions. They have one of the best rosters in football, especially on offense.

They upgraded their offensive line during free agency by signing players such as La’el Collins, Ted Karras, and Alex Cappa. When a team has stability at the quarterback position, such as the Bengals, they can go into the season and not fear any divisional opponent.

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Meet Derrick Branch, the founder and chief wordsmith at Strike 7 Sports. With a sharp focus on the NFL and the NBA, Derrick's expertise in sports is matched only by his passion for sharing it with others. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the prestigious University of Arizona Global. Let his insightful and engaging writing take you to the heart of the action.

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