SB Nation recently came out with a reverse power ranking, listing the worst teams first and the better teams last. The Bengals landed squarely in the top 10, and by top 10, I mean bottom 10. I know, it's confusing.
The Bengals came in at No. 25 (No. 8).
Strap on your "What's that now?" helmets because the Bengals could very well be the best team in the AFC North and they could stay that way for a while, competing for the AFC and all that noise. What's that now?
Even though the Ravens came in ahead on the un-power rankings, the Bengals are poised to have sustained success in the division. While the Ravens and the Steelers are going to be good year in and year out because of their coaching and a solid core of players, the Bengals have them beat when it comes to youth and, especially, money.
While the Steelers and the Ravens have been hard up against the cap and have been forced to release or trade or have been unable to re-sign players like Ed Reed, Anquan Boldin, Mike Wallace, James Harrison and others, the Bengals have been silently re-signing their own. With their recent history in the draft and with 10 picks coming their way, there's no reason to expect anything other than the Bengals bringing in young and talented players.
The Bengals will have a much tougher schedule in 2013 than they did in 2012, but we said the same thing about their schedule in 2012 when compared to 2011. If their defense is the same or continues to get better and if the offense take a couple steps forward, there's no reason to expect that they won't head to the playoffs for the third straight year.