The Cincinnati Bengals have had their justifiable share of struggles this season. They opened 0-2, handled a slow start from Joe Burrow as he adjusted to the way in which teams defended him while being brutalized behind suspect offensive-line play, after which needed to learn easy methods to play for a stretch without star receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who has missed a month with a hip injury.
Yet here they’re after 12 weeks, tied for first place, winners of three straight and seemingly able to once more be a playoff team and potential division winner. Due to a powerful 20-16 road victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, the Bengals are 7-4 and surging at the correct time.
Super Bowl loser hangover? Possibly they’re able to defy that notion. At the very least it looks that way.
The Bengals are generally known as a reasonably pass-first team, with Burrow and his skillful receivers in a position to put up big numbers. But that wasn’t the case against the Titans. It was a physical, ugly game that forced the Bengals to win a unique way.
They beat up the bully.
The Titans are generally known as perhaps probably the most physical team within the league. They’re keyed by the facility running of Derrick Henry and a defense that may attack the quarterback. But Sunday, the Bengals limited Henry to 38 yards on 17 carries and the Titans had one sack. Burrow threw for 270 yards, one touchdown and no picks, but he also ran nine times for 32 yards.
Just because the Bengals is likely to be getting comfortable about their ascension to being tied for the highest spot within the AFC North, here comes the Kansas City Chiefs in a monster game this Sunday. The Bengals beat the Chiefs twice last season, the last time in Kansas City within the AFC Championship Game.
Beating them three straight might be an actual challenge, even when the Bengals are riding high. There’s a likelihood Chase might be back this week, which can help enliven the offense. It’s likely this week’s game might be more pretty than ugly when it comes to offense with these two teams.
Irrespective of what happens, the Bengals showed against the Titans that they’ll win in a slugfest, which is a great sign for down the road. As they roll into December, the Bengals are actually eighth in my Power Rankings, with that 0-2 start way within the rear-view mirror.
The Chiefs are the league’s top-ranked team, which makes Sunday one other prove-it game for the Bengals. Win it, and they’ll definitely be viewed as a Super Bowl contender again. Lose, and the early troubles is likely to be back on the forefront. But at the least they showed they’ll win ugly against the Titans.
Those are the games teams should win in some unspecified time in the future, even when pretty and passing are the norms for Burrow and the Bengals. The toughness was on display in Nashville, the identical toughness that helped them shock people to get to a Super Bowl last yr. They could look gaudy as a team — fun to observe — however the Bengals also can bully the bully. That matters. That is why they’re again a threat within the AFC.
|They face an enormous road conference game this week at Cincinnati against the Bengals as they fight to avenge last yr’s loss within the AFC title game. The defense might be tested.||—||9-2-0|
|That running game is potent. They might be tough to stop. However the defense has run game problems that should be addressed.||—||10-1-0|
|They’ve been rolling on offense, but they face a stiff test this week at San Francisco. Can Tua Tagovailoa keep it going?||—||8-3-0|
|The lack of Von Miller for a time frame will impact the defense in an enormous way. They should hope he isn’t out for a very long time.||—||8-3-0|
|After losing to the Packers, they’ve bounced back with two straight victories to point out they could be a deep playoff team. They’re good on each lines.||1||8-3-0|
|Kirk Cousins played well within the prime-time victory over the Patriots. That was a heck of a bounce-back for this team.||1||9-2-0|
|On a day when their offense wasn’t quite working, the defense got here up big against the Saints. Now they should be even higher against Miami.||2||7-4-0|
|Winning at Tennessee is rarely easy, which says loads about their victory. For a reward? Here come the Chiefs.||2||7-4-0|
|They should get the offense entering into terms of the passing game — or else. The defense allow them to down late at Jacksonville.||1||7-4-0|
|They still hold an enormous lead within the division, however the loss to the Bengals won’t help playoff seeding. The offense came upon how tough it may be when Derrick Henry cannot run it.||5||7-4-0|
|Mike White played well in his first start this season to guide the Jets past the Bears. Zach who? Is it sustainable with Mike White?||3||7-4-0|
|That was a possible season-saving victory at Arizona with the late-game drive to win it. Justin Herbert made the plays when he needed to have them in that game.||3||6-5-0|
|Don’t look now, but they’d be within the playoffs in the event that they began today. They’ve ripped off three straight victories behind their defense and running game.||5||7-5-0|
|The excellent news is that the offense showed some life against the Vikings. But what happened to the defense? Now they get Josh Allen and the Bills.||3||6-5-0|
|They’re spiraling without delay with two straight losses. One has to wonder if that is who they’re as a team since they’re limited when it comes to playmakers.||3||7-4-0|
|The defense really allow them to down within the loss to the Raiders. That was an issue early this season that got here back in an enormous way.||3||6-5-0|
|They don’t seem to be officially done as Deshaun Watson gets able to play for the primary time. Jacoby Brissett did a pleasant job when he played in his spot, but now it’s Watson time.||8||4-7-0|
|Losing at Washington is not a great thing, but within the NFC South they’re still alive. They’ve competed in almost every game this season, which is a great thing.||2||5-7-0|
|They lose games and stay in first place. It’s amazing. The division is so bad, but they should play higher.||2||5-6-0|
|That was a big-boy moment for Trevor Lawrence to beat the Ravens with a late-game drive for a touchdown. This team might be a playoff team in 2023.||8||4-7-0|
|The offense didn’t rating a degree against the 49ers. Is it time to return to Jameis Winston?||2||4-8-0|
|They’d their winning streak snapped on Thanksgiving, which suggests it’s all about next yr for them. They’ve made outstanding progress this season.||2||4-7-0|
|Josh Jacobs was outstanding against Seattle. He saved the sport because the defense was horrible. At 4-7, they are not dead yet.||3||4-7-0|
|By losing to the Eagles, the death blow got here for his or her season. Now with Aaron Rodgers hurt, it is likely to be time to shut him down.||3||4-8-0|
|They’re done for this season, barring a miracle. Is coach Kliff Kingsbury secure? Even with an enormous deal, he won’t be.||3||4-8-0|
|Kenny Pickett has done some nice things because the starter for this team. He’s going to be a great one in the approaching years.||2||4-7-0|
|The Jeff Saturday bump is over. They won one and lost two. Possibly it isn’t really easy to teach on this league.||4||4-7-1|
|The move to Sam Darnold looked as if it would bring some life to the offense. Steve Wilks has done a pleasant job.||3||4-8-0|
|The offense is lifeless without all the celebrities, including Matt Stafford. This season is over. The Super Bowl hangover is real.||—||3-8-0|
|Without Justin Fields against the Jets, they only weren’t the identical team. They should hope he’s back soon, but additionally they should make certain he’s healthy for next yr.||—||3-9-0|
|The offense is terrible. One has to wonder if coach Nathaniel Hackett might be back next season. It isn’t looking good.||4||3-8-0|
|So I suppose Davis Mills wasn’t the one problem. They simply aren’t good in quite a lot of areas, which may’t be fixed this season. Now here comes Deshaun Watson back to Houston.||—||1-9-1|