The Cincinnati Bengals are making the wrong kind of betting history to start the 2022 NFL season.
Cincinnati is the first team to start a season 0-2 after being favored by a TD or more in its first two games of the season. The Bengals lost 20-17 to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday after Brett Maher kicked a field goal as time expired.
The Bengals are the first team in the Super Bowl era to start 0-2 despite being at least a 7 point favorite in each game. pic.twitter.com/StQi0CXNQx
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 18, 2022
The defending AFC champions were favored by seven points against the Cowboys on Sunday. The line made sense too. Dallas entered the game with Cooper Rush at quarterback with Dak Prescott out after he was injured against Tampa Bay in Week 1. But Rush wasn’t overmatched against Cincy and completed over 50% of his passes for 231 yards and a TD to Noah Brown.
The Bengals were also favored by seven in Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. And it’s a semi-miracle that Cincinnati only lost 23-20 in overtime in that game. The Bengals had five turnovers against the Steelers and could have won the game in regulation if not for a Minkah Fitzpatrick block of an Evan McPherson extra point.
Cincinnati struggled to get much offense against Dallas’ defense on Sunday. Joe Burrow didn’t throw an interception in Week 2 but was just 24-of-36 passing for 199 yards and a TD while the Bengals rushed for just 89 yards.
Cincinnati is still just one game out of first place in the AFC North thanks to losses by the Browns, Steelers and Ravens on Sunday. But it’s worth noting that no team that started 0-2 has made the playoffs since 2018. If Cincinnati is going to rebound and get back to the playoffs, it’ll buck a three-year trend. And that trend is much easier to reverse now with the Ravens’ collapse against the Dolphins, the Browns’ collapse against the Jets and the Steelers’ struggles against the Patriots.