The Cincinnati Bengals’ game plan for 2022 is to win the AFC North despite playing Deshaun Watson and the Cleveland Browns twice.
Deshaun Watson, the quarterback for the Browns, will miss six games for breaching the league’s personal conduct rules, a former federal judge determined on Monday. The verdict was reached after a month of consideration, and the NFL still has three days to appeal.
This summer, it was made known by AA1 that the league intended to suspend Watson indefinitely for at least one year, forcing the Browns to start Jacoby Brissett in 2022.
Pass-rusher Trey Hendrickson told reporters that the Watson situation “handles itself” and that the Bengals should prepare for Watson if it materializes.
When playing the Browns in 2022, the Cincinnati Bengals won’t be concerned.
Deshaun Watson and Joe Burrow will face off twice this season because Cincinnati will play the Browns in Weeks 8 and 14. If the NFL doesn’t argue that Watson’s ban should be increased to at least eight games, this will be the case.
Although Watson’s 2020 campaign was impressive, he has had two years since that performance and is probably not going to be the same top signal-caller he once was.
On the other side, Burrow is only going up after having a remarkable comeback year in 2021 in which he helped the Bengals win the Super Bowl. Watson’s figures for 2020 are uncannily comparable to those of Burrow’s 4,611 passing yards, 34 touchdowns, and 70.4 pass completion percentage from the previous season.
Burrow, meanwhile, has a number of other benefits over the contentious Browns quarterback. For starters, he has already developed dazzling synergy with his wide receiver group, and in 2022, he will benefit from an improved offensive line.
This divisional competition may come down to defense, and it appears that Trey Hendrickson and others are ready to tackle Watson when the opportunity arises.
The Bengals believe that the Watson news is simply a little blip on Cincinnati’s radar because the team has more important issues to address for the 2022 season.