Though the first preseason game's performance isn't necessarily the best gauge to use for the overall picture of a team's outlook, it does provide a glimpse of things to come. The Bengals beat the Jets last Friday, 17-6, and with every other team having a game under their belt at this point, NFL.com's Elliot Harrison decided to create an updated power rankings list. Good news: the Bengals have moved up on the list.
Previously, Harrison had the Bengals in at No.12 overall after their forays in the draft and free agency. That ranking was one of the most generous of all of the major media outlets. So, where did they come in on Harrison's latest list?
The Bengals inched up the ladder at No.11 overall.
One of the more underreported guys coming off a major 2011 injury has to be cornerback Leon Hall. Don't forget, he was one of the best corners in the AFC before hurting his Achilles. So far, he's held his own in camp. If Hall comes back 100 percent, Cincy could be a tough out. This is a well-balanced team that just needs a confidence-building win over Baltimore or Pittsburgh.
It's interesting that Harrison brings up Hall as the major question for the team instead of the usual suspects on offense. Still, it is a fair point. If Hall does come back strong from injury, the team is improved on an already-impressive unit. He's also correct that the Bengals need to make hay against the division giants in the Steelers and Ravens.
The only AFC North team that finished ahead of the Bengals was the Ravens at No. 6. Interestingly, Harrison has the Steelers notched two spots below Cincinnati at No.13. Predictably, the Browns are stuck towards the bottom at No. 30 with a rookie quarterback at the helm, star cornerback Joe Haden facing a suspension, and Trent Richardson recently coming off of knee surgery.