The Bengals were thoroughly dominant through the first three weeks of the NFL season, putting away a strong Baltimore team, limiting the dangerous Falcons to just 10 points, and completely overpowering a lackluster Titans teams.
However, a once potent defense has now become the Bengals' weak spot, one with glaring holes. With their primetime destruction at the hands of the Patriots and the tie against a Panthers teams in the Jungle, are they the most overrated one-loss team in the NFL?
The analysts seem to think so.
First, let's looks at the competition. Other than Cincinnati, Arizona, Denver, Dallas, Philadelphia, and San Diego all have just one loss on their respective records so far. Philly answered some defensive questions last Monday against the Giants. Arizona has done it with their starting quarterback out half the time. San Diego has surged under Philip Rivers, and Denver is....well, Denver.
That leaves Dallas and Cincinnati, the two teams that drew attention from this question. The Cowboys received attention mainly because of DeMarco Murray's health. And although they probably should have, the Bengals didn't seem to get the benefit of injury being the reason.
NFL Network's Judy Battista cited the tough schedule, the run defense, and the lack of a pass rush (aside from injury) as the main reasons the Bengals are not to be counted upon.
Meanwhile, Dave Dameshek, Gregg Rosenthal, and Adam Schein all blasted the ineffectiveness of the Marvin Lewis and Andy Dalton tandem.
The fact that Andy Dalton still can't throw outside the numbers is certainly valid to an extent, and even Bengals fans can understand the issue of trust in the team. But do we really expect the team to, as Mr. Rosenthal so blatantly puts it, "randomly fall off a cliff?"
I guess we'll leave that up to the ensuing discussion.