Week 3 NFL Power Rankings: Bengals Lose and Finally Impress ESPN

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 18: Wide receiver A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs after making a catch against Cornerback Cassius Vaughn #41 of the Denver Broncos during the third quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

After the Bengals defeated the Browns in week one, the Bengals rose from dead last in ESPN's power rankings up two spots to No. 30, just on top of the Seahawks and Browns. 

After losing the following week, the Bengals didn't fall back down to last place. Instead, they jumped two more spots. This isn't just because Andy Dalton looked impressive throughout the team's 24-22 loss to the Broncos, but because there more other teams who looked much, much worse.

Now, according to ESPN's week three power rankings, the Bengals are sitting at No. 28 in the NFL, ahead of the Browns, Colts, Chiefs and Seahawks in that order. Still, despite their 1-1 record, there are still four 0-2 teams ranked ahead of them -- the Panthers, Vikings, Dolphins and Rams

Of course non of this really matters at all. What does matter is this: 1-1, 1-1, 1-1 and 1-1. All four teams in the AFC North are 1-1 and the Bengals are sitting comfortably in second place. If the Bengals defeat the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday during their home opener, they can not only protect their second-place standing in the division but they could possibly even move up, depending on what the other teams do. That's the only ranking that really matters at this point.

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