Pro Football Talk is counting down their preseason power rankings, which should conclude when the NFL is completely immersed in training camp later this week. They're already listed the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 15 and the Cleveland Browns at No. 31 (just below the Oakland Raiders with the worst preseason ranking). We find it frustrating that Houston was ranked No. 10, only because they irritate us by bouncing Cincinnati out of the postseason the past two seasons. But that's just childish frustration, which we'll get over with soon enough.
On Monday, PFT ranked the Bengals No. 6, writing that Cincinnati is "becoming one of the elite teams in the NFL."
Regardless of whether it happens, the Bengals have become something they haven’t been for more than a generation: Relevant. And to the teams they’ll play this year: Dangerous.
Most of the posting highlights the teams strengths with their best players on offense and defense, but questions Andy Dalton, as well as the team's offensive line (but only in reference to Andre Smith, who signed a three-year deal and then disappeared). Truth is, the weaknesses weren't particularly weak as they were a necessity to add a weakness for all teams.
So this may be the year to go all in, which means the Bengals should be willing to take chances every week in order not just to get to the playoffs but to position themselves for success when they get there. Which could lead them all the way to New York, for an open-air Super Bowl with conditions that could resemble the 1981 AFC title game against the Chargers.