Do the Bengals have the worst defense in football? It's certainly possible, judging by their 20th ranking in pass defense and 31st ranking in run defense.
That's led to the 28th-overall defense that may actually be worse than what normal statistics show. According to Pro Football Focus' advanced metrics, the Bengals have the worst defense in football, just head of Tampa Bay, Jacksonville and Washington.
As you can see, the primary culprit of the poor grade is the pass rush, or lack thereof. If the season ended today, the -35.1 grade would be the fourth worst pass-rushing grade of any team in the past five seasons. There's no one player to blame for such a dropoff, but losing defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer certainly had to hurt, especially with first-year DC Paul Guenther adjusting to a role he's never before held.
There's still time to turn it around, but when you've got the second-worst defensive end (Geathers), the fourth-worst outside linebacker (Lamur) and the worst defensive tackle (Peko) in PFF's grading system getting starters' snaps, it's hard to see it getting much better.
One thing is for sure: Cincinnati will face a strong test this week as they face the NFL's No. 3 offense in New Orleans. The Bengals have allowed 86 combined points in three road games this year, an average of 28.7 points per game.
The Saints are averaging 27.9 points per contest, including 31.3 per game at home. If the Bengals defense and offense don't bring their A-game, this one could get ugly fast.