As Week 3 of the NFL season ends, the Bengals are the lone undefeated team remaining in the AFC. They are also one of just three teams without a loss to go on their resume, but neither the 3-0 Arizona Cardinals nor 3-0 Philadelphia Eagles have looked nearly as impressive as Cincinnati.
After all, both the Cards and Eagles have trailed by double-digits at least once in the second half this year. Meanwhile, the Bengals have trailed by just one point for less than a minute against the Ravens in Week 1. They've also outscored their first three opponents 83-30.
For the first time in, maybe ever, the Bengals are being touted as the NFL's best by prominent national media outlets. Grantland's Bill Barnwell is the latest to do so, calling Cincinnati the best team in football through three weeks.
One of three teams in the league left at 3-0, the Bengals tower over the competition, as their plus-47 point differential is better than that of their undefeated brethren in Philadelphia (plus-23) and Arizona (plus-21) put together. The team with football's second-best point differential, Atlanta (plus-31), lost to Cincinnati 24-10 in Week 2 - a game in which kicker Mike Nugent missed three first-half field goals. In fact, the three teams Cincinnati has beaten this year - Baltimore, Atlanta, and Sunday's victims, Tennessee - are a combined 5-1 in games in which they're not playing the Bengals.
There's still nearly an entire season's worth of football left to be played, at least if Cincinnati hopes to play in 2-3 postseason games in addition to their 13 regular season games left. For now, the Bengals look as good as anyone, but their upcoming schedule will really show how good they are. It could also help determine where the Bengals are seeded if and when they make it back to the playoffs.
When they come back, they travel to New England to play the Patriots, then host the Panthers, meet the Colts in Indianapolis, and finish up at home against the Ravens, who held that 51-second lead on the Bengals in Week 1. In what looks to be a paper-thin AFC, a split of those four games could be enough to keep Cincinnati in pole position for one of the top two seeds in the AFC, with the no. 1 seed possibly coming down to Denver’s trip to Cincinnati in Week 16.