The Cincinnati Bengals went from a 4-11-1 finish in 2020 to AFC champions last year. Could another team follow their path from rags to riches in 2022?
Cris Collinsworth is "intrigued" by the New York Jets as a dark horse candidate to take a significant step forward this season.
"I just feel like if there's a team out there that can make a jump this year and surprise everybody ... the Jets, maybe they're that team this year," Collinsworth said on his podcast last week.
Collinsworth likes the addition of offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur to implement a San Francisco 49ers-style offense for head coach Robert Saleh. The Jets also drafted high-profile talent in cornerback Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, wide receiver Garrett Wilson, and running back Breece Hall.
It may sound crazy, but there are some parallels. Like the Bengals entering 2021, the Jets are coming off a four-win season behind a second-year quarterback.
Of course, Zach Wilson has a long ways to go before proving he can follow the same trajectory as Joe Burrow.
The No. 2 pick had a rough NFL debut, completing just 55.6 percent of his passes with nine passing touchdowns in 13 games. However, he's surrounded by talent in Hall, Wilson, Michael Carter, Elijah Moore, Corey Davis, and Cincinnati's starting tight end last year, C.J. Uzomah.
Collinsworth asserted that most people said, "That guy's got it" when watching Wilson play at BYU. The 22-year-old will need to tap into that upside in order to lead the Jets out of the AFC East cellar.
The Jets have not made the playoffs since 2010, and 2015 was the only time they posted a winning record during that window. Fans are eager to finally see improvement.
Although they might not vault into the Super Bowl like the Bengals, the Jets could finally take a step in the right direction.