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Bengals Banter: Carson, Cedric (has Celiac), Playoffs, and Parity

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I like to browse the internets, particularly in the national sports media area, to see what the big famous heads have to say about my football team. Interestingly, they have a lot to say this week. Here are some discussion points.

  • Carson Palmer is awesome. So awesome that he's CBS Sports' top story today! Pedro, where are you? He's finally using his legs to make plays instead of standing in the pocket like a statue. He's doing like Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger - extending plays by moving around behind the line of scrimmage to give receivers time to get open. He's picking apart zones with pinpoint accuracy. He's thrown 7 picks or something, but I'd expect that number to stay low for the rest of the season given his performance against Chicago. Is Carson back to 2005 form? Is he better? Can we call him an elite NFL quarterback again? (By the way, Shutdown Corner doesn't think so. These rankings are absurd.)
  • Playoffs. Yahoo is doing a lot of absurdly premature playoff looks. MJD is particularly excited to watch the next Steelers-Bengals game. Can you blame him? That definitely has the makings of a marquee match up, something that's been sorely lacking in the NFL this year. In other playoff news, AccuScore thinks the Bengals improved their playoff hopes by almost 20% last week, beating the Bears. Are the Bengals a playoff team? Let's think about the competition - Pittsburgh (division), Jets, Texans, Jaguars, San Diego (Wildcard) and Baltimore (wildcard/division). I like our chances, but it's going to be tough and in the back of my mind, I wonder how this team will play in big games down the stretch.
  • Speaking of Steelers-Bengals being a marquee match up, when was the last time that really happened? 2005. Parity is dead in the NFL, and Kerry J. Byrne of Cold Hard Football Facts says so. The Bengals have been competitive - playoff competitive - only twice this decade. The Steelers have won two Superbowls. The Colts, Patriots, Broncos, and Steelers have dominated football for more than a decade. Is parity dead? Is that a bad thing? How would you fix it?
  • Paul Daugherty is making his way into the national press this year, writing  guest articles or something along those lines for Today, he highlights the emergence of Cedric Benson, which is an extremely trendy topic this year (watch out, Cedric is on pace for 375 carries, way over that "RB weardown" number. When he gets invited to the Pro Bowl, he should probably take it easy or he might be the next broken down former star). Interestingly, Cedric Benson was diagnosed with Celiac Disease shortly after he left the Bears. That means he can't digest gluten, which is primarily found in bread, pasta and the like. He says he's changed his diet - could the fact that Benson can actually digest the food he eats be a factor in his resurgence? 

I hope you find these discussion points as interesting as I do. Enjoy the bye-week fodder. Get into the thread and discuss!