Joe Burrow predicts Bengals will reclaim AFC North in 2024: 'I'm gonna give people something to talk about'

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Joe Burrow appeared in just 10 games in 2023, missing extended time due to injury for the second time in four seasons. As a result, the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback believes he’s being overlooked going into 2024. Not only that, as he told the “Pardon My Take” podcast, but he promises to “give people something to talk about this year,” predicting the Bengals will reclaim the AFC North throne after falling to the division cellar.

“That’s what happens when you get hurt,” Burrow said. “You don’t play football, people forget about you. … I love the spot I’m in. … You’re not out there, people aren’t watching you, then there’s nothing to talk about. So I’m gonna give people something to talk about this year. I’m excited.”

Asked to project the AFC North standings, the Pro Bowler was blunt: “Bengals first, and then I don’t care.”

Expect the confidence to carry over onto the field, with Burrow also going as far as teasing a homage to the infamous touchdown celebration executed by Randy Moss back in 2005, when the Hall of Fame wide receiver pretended to moon the Lambeau Field crowd as a member of the Minnesota Vikings.

“I think I might — maybe if I get a rushing touchdown this year, I might bring back the fake moon,” he said with a smile, later suggesting he’ll pull out the celebration “on the road” against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Burrow added that he’s benefited from extra recovery time during the end of the 2023 season, during which he rehabilitated from wrist surgery. He’s looking to return Cincinnati to the playoffs after a 9-8 finish last year; he helped the Bengals reach the AFC championship in back-to-back seasons from 2021-2022, advancing to the Super Bowl in just his second NFL campaign. When fully healthy, the signal-caller is widely considered one of the league’s best at his position, eclipsing 30 touchdown passes in each of his conference-title bids.

The Pro Bowler also has the entire NFL’s health on his mind when he suggested his ideal iteration of the league’s schedule should the regular season be expanded to 18 games. Part of Burrow’s recommendation included borrowing from the NBA’s calendar and using an entire week during the season for the Pro Bowl events, which would act as the players’ second bye week. 

“Eighteen [games]? Got to have two bye weeks,” Burrow said. “I think it would be cool to do a normal bye week schedule that it is now, have it spread out, but then like Week 13 do the Pro Bowl break where you’re doing like the 7-on-7 and all the skills challenges like the NBA does because I think that would get more ratings for the Pro Bowl. Then, it would also give everybody that bye week going into like the last six games of the year. … Then, you would have guys that are injured that would be able to potentially come back, and you want your best players out there as a league. You want them in the last six weeks of the season. You want your best players on the field, so I think that would be a smart idea.”

Burrow also advocated for this format back in May with local media in Cincinnati, highlighting his passion for the topic. Perhaps he and commissioner Roger Goodell need to get on the phone together to discuss his proposal in depth. 

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