Joe Burrow’s ‘Bengals of tomorrow’ rise up vs. Bills


The Bengals aren’t a cute upstart story anymore. Cute upstarts in the NFL don’t win five playoff games in 54 weeks, don’t embarrass the preseason Super Bowl favorites in their own stadium and in their own weather. Joe Burrow is not a cute upstart. He is the Paulie Walnuts of NFL quarterbacks, able to rip the guts out of the Allens and Mahomeses without changing expressions, without feeling one pang of sorrow for the vanquished.

I’m sure Kansas City isn’t scared of the Bengals coming to Arrowhead Sunday for a rerun of last year’s AFC title game. But I’d also bet a lot of money that, deep down, Kansas City wanted Buffalo, even if it meant playing the game in Atlanta instead of Arrowhead. What KC must feel for Cincinnati is deep and abiding respect after losing to the Bengals three times in three games in the last 13 months. Home-field might not be absolutely meaningless in the AFC Championship Game Sunday, but it’s damn close.

There are so many places to start with what Cincinnati did in chopping the Bills down Sunday, but I think the best place to start is at left tackle.

When incumbent Jonah Williams became the third starting offensive lineman to get ruled out of the lineup last week, the Bengals turned to a mostly disappointing second-year lineman, Jackson Carman, who’d be starting his first career game at left tackle. The old man of the line, center Ted Karras, told me post-game, “I told the guys this week, ‘The pressure’s off, guys. No one thinks we can do it. We have a chance to go be heroes.’ And we did.”

Then Karras thought for a second. “Well, gotta give a shoutout to the defense as well. Come on, holding Josh Allen to 10 points? At home? In the playoffs? In the sleet? With that crowd against us?”
Good points. But the Achilles of the Cincinnati team was supposed to be, left to right, Carman, Cordell Volson, Karras, Max Scharping and Hakeem Adeniji. And so what happened? Burrow tightened up his game, throwing the ball at a breakneck average of 2.50 seconds from the time of snap in 39 pass drops; on one throw (I’ll explain), he hit Ja’Marr Chase in a startling time of 1.10 seconds after taking the snap—the fifth-fastest time for a third-down conversion this season, per Next Gen Stats.

Even though Burrow was quick off the draw, the line held up well, and illustrated how big the loss of Von Miller to ACL injury in midseason was to the Bills. Carman especially. In Burrow’s 39 dropbacks, Carman allowed just one pressure on Burrow. “In this league,” Karras said, “that’s a big, big deal. That’s taking advantage of a massive opportunity. After the game, I told him how proud of him I was. I think he proved that he’s a tackle in this league.

“And you know, on the biggest stage of all of our football careers up to this point, he performed when it counted the most. He’s had a transformative year and this was a transformative day for him, being in the spotlight and performing at the highest level.”

My first job in the NFL business was covering the Bengals for the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1984. Tremendous experience. I can’t say enough about it. Watching training-camp practices with the founder and owner, Paul Brown. Living in the players’ dorm during training camp, with Boomer Esiason and Cris Collinsworth using the landline phone in my cinderblock dorm room when the two pay phones in the dorm were taken. Spending hours in the head coach’s suite, with Sam Wyche doling out his imaginative offensive gimmickry. I left for New York in 1985, and the Bengals were good and interesting and highly competitive, and I went back often and covered the Boomer Bengals a lot.

I have a feeling this current iteration of the Bengals will be the best ever. A few reasons for that, but the biggest is Burrow. Imagine what Ted Karras, who has been in Cincinnati for one season, must think of this guy to talk about him like he’s some young Brady. This is Burrow’s third year, and you need to be careful about making him the second coming, but a player who completes 69 percent of his throws in the first three seasons, and who is 5-1 in his first six playoff games, and who is not afraid of anything – well, such a fellow is dangerous.

(Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

“This,” Burrow said after the game, “might be our most complete game of the season as a team. We’re a more complete team this year. Our offensive line is better. Our running game is better. Our defense is better.”

All of which should sound a clarion call in Kansas City this morning. I don’t know if the Bengals will win Sunday, but I do know these are not the same old Bengals, as this franchise was for years. Decades. These are Joe Burrow’s Bengals, and everything is possible.

Read more in Peter King’s full Football Morning in America column

NFL quarterback rankings 2023: Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of upcoming NFL season


While the NFL is a league that is ever-changing, some things are set to stay the same in 2023 — like the revealing of Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown.

Last year’s list saw Josh Allen take his place atop the quarterback throne, with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert not far behind at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. It was, however, Mahomes who would ultimately reign over all NFL quarterbacks at the end of the season, as the 27-year-old collected both the NFL MVP honors and his second Lombardi Trophy.

This NFL offseason, however, has brought some intriguing adjustments that are likely to shake up Simms’ rankings.

While some signal-callers such as Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson found their prolonged home with massive contract signings, others will be venturing to a new franchise in search of a fresh start. Aaron Rodgers‘ trade to the New York Jets is unquestionably the most staggering shift, but other quarterbacks on the move such as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo cannot be forgotten.

RELATED: Mike Florio gives an inside look into the Lamar Jackson deal

And with three of the first four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft being spent on a quarterback, emerging talent will likely turn the tides for some franchises this upcoming season.

See below for Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of the upcoming season. Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL season as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: Peter King’s latest offseason NFL power rankings

Chris Simms’ 2023 Top 40 QB Countdown:

40. Desmond Ridder (ATL)

39. Sam Howell (WAS)

38. Bryce Young (CAR)

37. CJ Stroud (HOU)

36. Anthony Richardson (IND)

35. Mike White (MIA)

34. Gardner Minshew (IND)

33. Taylor Heinicke (ATL)

32. Jarrett Stidham (DEN)

31. Jordan Love (GB)

30. Davis Mills (HOU)

29. Tyler Huntley (BAL)

28. Andy Dalton (CAR)

27. Sam Darnold (SF)

26. Brock Purdy (SF)

25. Kenny Pickett (PIT)

24. Baker Mayfield (TB)

23. Justin Fields (CHI)

22. Jimmy Garoppolo (LV)

21. Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

20. Mac Jones (NE)

19. Kyler Murray (AZ)

18. Derek Carr (NO)

17. Jared Goff (DET)

16. Ryan Tannehill (TEN)

15. Geno Smith (SEA)

14. Russell Wilson (DEN)

2023 NFL Schedule Release: Start time, how to watch, live stream, channel


With another exciting NFL Draft in the books, teams can now turn their gaze toward the road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The path to Super Bowl glory, however, is about to become abundantly more clear with the 2023 NFL season schedule release.

This year’s NFL season schedule release is nearly here, with the entirety of the 2023 NFL schedule being unveiled on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. ET on both Peacock and NFL Network. See below for everything you need to know for one of the offseason’s most anticipated events.

RELATED: Click here for full analysis on Rounds 1-7 of the 2023 NFL Draft

When will the 2023 NFL season schedule be released?

While all 272 matchups have been known since the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, the order and dates for these games have remained a mystery. The secret is nearly out, however, with every NFL game on the brink of revelation.

The full 2023 NFL schedule will be released on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

How can I watch the 2023 NFL season schedule release?

The 2023 NFL season schedule release will take place Thursday, May 11 on Peacock, NFL Network, and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET.

While the entirety of the schedule will be unveiled at that time, select games have already been and will continue to be released prior to the official event. Ahead of the 2023 NFL season schedule release, the following games will be announced:

Who will play in the 2023 NFL Kickoff game?

The first game of the 2023-24 NFL season will see the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take the field in Arrowhead Stadium.

The opponent that will meet Patrick Mahomes and company in Kansas City, however, remains to be revealed.

Which NFL teams have international games in 2023?

While the majority of the matchups set to take place next season have yet to be announced, the league has already revealed which teams will head overseas for international showdowns.

Below is the full list of international NFL games for the 2023-24 season, with three in London, U.K., and two in Frankfurt, Germany.

Falcons vs. Jaguars: Week 4, Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Wembley Stadium in London, U.K.

Jaguars vs. Bills: Week 5, Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Ravens vs. Titans: Week 6, Oct. 15 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Dolphins vs. Chiefs: Week 9, Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

Colts vs. Patriots: Week 10, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

RELATED: NFL’s 2023 international games full of “star power”

When is the Super Bowl and where will it be taking place?

Stars will be shining bright in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Super Bowl LVIII, set to take place on Feb. 11, 2024, at the home of the Raiders in Allegiant Stadium.

This will be the first Super Bowl to ever take place in Las Vegas, which hosted the 2023 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft.

Be sure to follow ProFootballTalk for the latest news, updates, and storylines about the upcoming NFL season!