The Cincinnati Bengals have become the type of team this year that doesn't know that they're supposed to lose. They beat a heavily-favored Buffalo Bills squad for the first time in 23 years. They beat the Jaguars in Jacksonville for the first time since the mid-90s, as well as the Indianapolis Colts. They're just not losing games that they're expected to lose, which is the first time fans are beginning to feel, optimistically, that the losing traditions are shedding. This week the Cincinnati Bengals will try to beat the Seahawks in Seattle for the first time since 1994 and Marvin Lewis will try to win his first game coming out of the bye week on the road.
It's the type of game that the Bengals are expected to lose. And it's a game that Sports Illustrated's Peter King doesn't think they will.
Best young safety tandem in football? Seattle's Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. They force the run well, are like linebackers when they rush, and are good hitters with very good ball skills down the field. Chancellor's got a sack and two picks and a forced fumble in his last three games. He idolized the late Sean Taylor and, at 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds, packs the same kind of wallop Taylor did. Chancellor and Thomas will be the key to making Andy Dalton turn it over, if he does, and turning this game Seattle's way. I say Dalton is affected by them but not ruined, and makes enough plays to move Cincinnati to a surprising 5-2.
If both the Ravens and Steelers lose this weekend, and if Cincinnati beats the Seahawks, the Bengals will claim first place by themselves. While the Steelers have a realistic shot at losing to the New England Patriots, the Ravens will likely have their way against Arizona after a terrible showing against Jaguars Monday Night.