Over the past several seasons, the AFC has been tied to the consolidation of elite quarterback play with quarterbacks like Bengals star Joe Burrow. After all, last offseason left virtually all of the talent in the American Football Conference and the NFC will likely be playing catch up for the next several years. Among those elite quarterbacks are two absolute superstars that have been annual members of the AFC Championship Game over the past three seasons: Burrow and the Super Bowl Champion Patrick Mahomes.
Bengals Expected to Bounce Back in 2024
After a turbulent 2023 season that started with the calf injury and essentially ended with the wrist injury to Burrow, Cincinnati is currently ranked as the 6th most likely team to win the Super Bowl in 2025 based on recent betting statistics. According to sportsbook BetMGM, Cincinnati has been given +1400 odds to raise the Lombardi Trophy next season as a healthy Burrow gives this team a competitive advantage over almost every single team in the AFC.
In the past three season, Kansas City and Cincinnati have met in the AFC Championship Game and each team went to the Super Bowl once in those two games. This past season, the AFC Championship Game was between Kansas City and Cincinnati’s divisional rival Baltimore as the injuries to Burrow derailed the entire year in the Queen City. Baltimore may have been the best team in the AFC Regular season this season but Most Valuable Player Lamar Jackson simply can’t compete in a shootout the way that Burrow can.
Next season will see Burrow return to form and potentially start the season against their biggest rival in the conference. There is a list of approximately ten teams that Kansas City may open the season against, but Cincinnati would certainly be the most compelling after the rivalry between the two teams has generated plenty of animosity over the past few season.
Even after Mahomes won his third Super Bowl, Burrow has been the subject of conversation after both Ravens legend Bart Scott and Cincinnati legend Anthony Munoz both offered heavy praise of the Cincinnati gunslinger.
“Joe is the real deal,” Muñoz said to Jim Rome this week. “We got to keep Joe healthy, upright. But man that guy, every part of his game, I just sit there and I’m amazed. I go to every home game when he’s playing. And I watch him. The way the guys fight for him. You hear guys talk about it. They love him, they love playing for him. You have free agents come in, have dinner with him, and say, ‘I gotta come play with this guy.’
Burrow is obviously a remarkable talent and has been a total icon in the Cincinnati area. His leadership traits and intangible skills have become undeniable and it will be another game for the ages to watch these two titans hammer it out in the AFC Championship this upcoming season.
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