Welcome back to the top Bengals as it has not been long at all since you got the AFC North crown. It is going to be hard to dethrone the Bengals while Joe Burrow is their quarterback. He has all the talent in the world and remains the best quarterback in the division even if Lamar Jackson returns to his previous form. Even if Pickett improves, he will not be at the level of Burrow, and Deshaun Watson will not rival him either.
Burrow is too good, and their offense has all their pieces; plus, their defense can rush the passer. After a week one shocking loss to the Browns, Cincinnati can readjust and go on a four-game winning streak. They end up with a (4-2) record at the bye week, but don't be shocked if they start off their season slow like they did last year.
They do struggle the month following their bye week but start to turn the ship back in the right direction after that. Starting week 12 against the Steelers, they pull off another four-game win streak that seems them defeat four AFC opponents. They do putter out with the rest of their schedule as they lose two out of their final three games.
The Bengals finish with the same record as the Steelers (11-6) but win the AFC North division because they are predicted to beat Pittsburgh twice this year. It is going to be a tight contest those last several weeks, but they do just enough to regain the crown of the toughest division in football. This is a quarterback-driven league and Burrow is the best in the north.