With the team undergoing a proverbial transformation this year, thanks to injuries wiping out great players and promoting backups into critical roles, I polled a number of writers together to create a top-20 of the best Bengals currently on the roster. This does not include players on Injured Reserve; so there is no Geno Atkins, Taylor Mays, or Leon Hall.
The participants are myself, Anthony Cosenza, Mickey Mentzer, Jake Liscow (contributor for CJ and Pro Football Focus) and Joe Goodberry (seasonal contributor at CJ, well-known twitter junkie and draft expert).
This was a blind ballot. In other words, people wrote their top-20 on a list. After gathering those ballots, I assigned values to everyone and used my brilliant mathematical skills to come up with the top-20:
- A.J. Green
- Vontaze Burfict
- Carlos Dunlap
- Giovani Bernard
- Andre Smith
- Andrew Whitworth
- Michael Johnson
- Kevin Zeitler
- Terence Newman
- Andy Dalton
- Reggie Nelson
- Clint Boling
- Marvin Jones
- Adam Jones
- Jermaine Gresham
- Tyler Eifert
- Kevin Huber
- George Iloka
- Brandon Thompson
- Wallace Gilberry
How does your top-20 look? Close to ours?
The disappointing BenJarvus Green-Ellis
It was beautifully mapped out earlier this year. Giovani Bernard would eat the yardage and BenJarvus Green-Ellis would gain the first downs.
It just hasn't happened this year.
Thirteen times this year, Green-Ellis had his number called when the Bengals had two yards or less to convert on third or fourth down. He's only converted six into first downs and not one since gaining three yards on third-and-one in the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills.
Obviously Green-Ellis wasn't going to be the 100-yard performer, splitting carries with rookie Giovani Bernard. Even his 3.3 yard/rush average this year was expected for a projected short-yardage back.
For the sake of comparison, Giovani Bernard has run the ball on third/fourth down with two yards or less to go four times and converted two.
The Battle of Ohio
This will be the 81st meeting between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns, in a game known as the "Battle of Ohio". Cincinnati currently leads the series 42-38 but the Browns have won two straight.
Interestingly enough, the Bengals are 26-14 in the series when the game is played in Cincinnati. The Browns are 24-16 when the game is played in Cleveland.
If the Bengals and Browns end regulation in a tie, it will be the first time in NFL history that a team (the Bengals) have played three consecutive games in overtime and the fourth overall. Cincinnati beat the Bills 27-24 in overtime earlier this year, then lost two straight to the Dolphins and Ravens. Cincinnati is 16-13-1 in overtime.
The NFL record for most overtimes in a season by a team is five, by the '83 Green Bay Packers.