Bengals could go 5-2 before the bye week; why Cleveland could be a trap game?

Now that we've calmed down after a perfectly scripted allow the Steelers to dominate the first half so we can come from behind game plan, it's time we take a quick look at where we're at and what to expect. The Bengals lost to the Denver Broncos 12-7, on The Fluke play. However, the Denver Broncos are also undefeated riding the league's best scoring defense -- only allowed 16 points through three games. Denver, aside from accidentally beating the Bengals (Stokley: Oh, a football!), have played 0-3 Oakland and 0-3 Cleveland. Probably not much to look into that. The Green Bay Packers are 2-1, with their lone blemish being the Cincinnati Bengals. Green Bay dominated a winless St. Louis team that some suspect could be the next winless team, while barely pulling out a late win over the 2-1 Chicago Bears. The NFC North, the NFC division the Bengals play this year, are 8-4 combined.

As for the division, the Bengals are keeping pace. Did you hear that they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers? Defensively, they're not far behind the two defensive powerhouses in the division. The Bengals have allowed 56 points in the three games; the Ravens have allowed 53 points while the Steelers have allowed 50 points. While the Steelers are one of two teams that played in the Super Bowl last season starting the season 1-2, the Baltimore Ravens are clearly the class of the division early in the week. Their 50 net points (103 points scored, 53 points allowed), ranks second to the New Orleans Saints' 64 net points.

Baltimore will be another big game for the Cincinnati Bengals, which will be played in Baltimore. However, before the a big divisional matchup against the Ravens, the Bengals will stay in-state to play the Browns in Cleveland this Sunday. This has all the makings of a trap game. Why? Two quarterbacks. Both have stunk. Five players have filed grievances. Word is circulating that Eric Mangini won't make it to the end of the season. And it's not like the Bengals have played great football, each game this season has been dictated within the remaining seconds of the game. Maybe it's the whole over-confidence thing.

After the Bengals finish their first run through the AFC North division in Cleveland and Baltimore, Cincinnati will host the Texans and Bears before resting during the bye week on November 1. The optimist in me says that the Bengals have the potential to go 5-2 (losing to the Ravens) before hosting the Baltimore Ravens on November 8. The really optimistic part of me says that the Bengals, who before 2008, always had favorable matchups and gave the Ravens fits, go 6-1. However, this Ravens squad is better than last year. And we'll have to do a much better job than we did against the Steelers to win it.

See, trap game. Here I got talking about the Ravens when clearly, the Browns, a miserably spiraling team, could surprise a team that's still on a high beating the Steelers and looking for their next big contest, the Baltimore Ravens.

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