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Cincinnati Bengals special teams ranking drops

The Cincinnati Bengals special teams unit, perceived as one of the best units in the NFL, failed to rank inside the top ten.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News releases an annual special teams list. A list that many reference when discussing the undervalued topic of special teams, which sets up field position, scores points and makes life difficult for opposing offenses (especially with Kevin Huber pinning them inside the twenty).

Gosselin devised a system that ranks special teams using 22 categories, assigning points like a golf score. Last year the Bengals ranked second. This year, the Bengals ranked No. 15 with a score of 363.5 -- New England was first with 229 points, followed by the San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens.

Cincinnati's 1.3 percent DVOA score on special teams, ranked 12th. DVOA is a Football Outsiders statistic that lists an estimate of how many points, compared to league average, each team receives from the five elements of special teams: field goals/extra points, kickoffs, kick returns, punts, punt returns.

The Bengals averaged 25.1 yards (fifth-best in the NFL) on 39 kickoff returns (mostly all from Brandon Tate), which is their highest average dating back to 1970 (25.7). On the other hand, the punt return team only averaged nine yards per -- their lowest since 2010 (7.2). Their average starting field position was the 26.98 yard-line, ranked 22nd in the NFL.