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Early Power Rankings Give Cincinnati Middle Of The Road Grades

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Aug 30, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (8) throws a pass against the Indianapolis Colts in the first quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Aug 30, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (8) throws a pass against the Indianapolis Colts in the first quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

NFL.com released their first regular season power rankings, listing the top five starting with the Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, New England Patriots, Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers. Cincinnati, ranked No. 16 in the poll, is behind No. 6 Baltimore and No. 9 Pittsburgh within the division -- Cleveland is dead last at No. 32.

The poll is an accumulation of 13 NFL.com experts, of which the highest ranking Cincinnati received came from Daniel Jeremiah at No. 9. Three writers put Cincinnati at No. 19.

Pro Football Talk lists Cincinnati at No. 17:

They’ve never made it to the postseason in two straight non-strike seasons. That streak could end in 2012.

The crew at SB Nation gives Cincinnati a No. 16 grade, further proving that I have more work to do.

Brian Billick through Fox Sports ranks Cincinnati at No. 14.

I like the Bengals to finish second in the AFC North and compete for another wild-card spot. I really like what offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has established on the offensive side of the ball, but both QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green need to avoid the proverbial sophomore slump. On defense, they are hoping first-round pick Dre Kirkpatrick can do for the defense what Dalton and Green did for the offense as rookies. He certainly has the talent.