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NFL Power Rankings: Three Analysts Have Cincinnati Bengals Third

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After a gutsy win in Baltimore, the national media came away impressed with the Bengals and moved them up past several teams, including the Colts, Patriots, Saints, and Packers.

Rob Carr

We'll start off with a magnificent quote from our own Josh Kirkendall, from last week's installment of the NFL power rankings.

And that's the point about power rankings, they are pointless perspectives that are based on white board magnetics, Scotch, and just the right amount of weed. Admittedly, they're also good fodder for conversation and maybe for someone to bitch about... well, we have that covered.

That's your weekly reminder to take these rankings with a grain of salt, as losing to the Falcons or Titans at home in the next two weeks will have the Bengals falling massively in these rankings. The opinions of these national pundits don't really mean anything. But hey, it feels great to see Cincinnati earning some respect.

No. 8:

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller had the Bengals lowest of all at number eight. At least his comments were accurate and more insightful than most of the national experts.

Andy Dalton and the offense looked sharp in the opener, but on defense they must find a better, more consistent pass rush. Losing linebacker Vontaze Burfict to a concussion hurt the team's momentum on defense, but they need Geno Atkins and Co. to make noise on the defensive line moving forward. The Bengals are 1-0 and clearly the class of the division right now, and for that they move up. But the schedule is rough for this team early. Cincinnati needs to keep winning to stay up high on this list.

No. 7:

SB Nation's own writer Danny Kelly had the Bengals lower than most, moving up three spots from number ten.

The Bengals answered a furious Ravens comeback bid by retaking the lead late in the game with an Andy Dalton 77-yard touchdown bomb to A.J. Green. The Dalton-to-Green connection is alive and well, and Gio Bernard was featured with 14 carries and 10 targets through the air, finishing with 110 yards from scrimmage. The Bengals' defense confounded the Ravens for much of the game despite Baltimore's absurd 85 plays, including 62 passes from Joe Flacco.

No. 7:

Yahoo Sports Frank Schwab was also less impressed than others, moving the Bengals up only two spots.

It was a little concerning that they had five field goals, leaving so many points on the field. But make no mistake, it was a really nice win.

No. 5:

NFL.com's Elliot Harrison moved the Bengals up five spots.

Andy Dalton just gave a figurative Manziel salute to all those folks who questioned his new contract. Building off an effective preseason, Dalton completed 25 of his 38 passes for 301 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. The only nitpicking here would be the offense's performance on third downs and at the end of drives (see: five field goals in first half). Mongo like touchdowns.

No. 4:

An ESPN joint staff has the Bengals at number five, passing the Saints, Colts, Patriots, and Packers.

A.J. Green's 77-yard touchdown reception saved the day for the Bengals. Green had six catches for 131 yards and a touchdown Sunday -- just another day for Cincinnati's top weapon.

No. 4:

Fox Sports' joint staff has the Bengals at number four. For whatever reason, they had the Bengals as low as number 18 before the season started. Perplexing, but at least they aren't stubborn.

After talking all offseason about a smash mouth offensive attack, new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson’s game plan called for Andy Dalton in the shotgun with Gio Bernard as his running back on almost every play. Oh, and don’t forget that A.J. Green guy. He’s good. The Bengals are very strong in the trenches on both sides of the ball with a top playmaker on the outside named A.J. Green.

No. 4:

USA Today's rankings also had the Bengals moving up five spots, passing the Eagles, Patriots, Saints, Colts, and Packers.

If the offense hadn't had to rely so much on K Mike Nugent, Sunday's win in Baltimore would have been truly impressive.

No. 4:

Our own Mickey Mentzer put the Bengals at No. 4 in his power rankings today. He had the Seahawks, Broncos, and 49ers ahead of the Bengals, and the Atlanta Falcons only one spot behind the Bengals at No. 5.

A 'monkey off the back' game that counts as double. A division win on the road in the NFL is always awesome.

No. 3:

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco is certainly known as a believer in the Bengals. He chose the Bengals to reach the Superbowl last year.

Going into Baltimore and beating up the Ravens the way they did is impressive. The defense looks like it is for real.

No. 3

CBS Sports' Pat Kirwan also loved what he saw from the Bengals last week, moving them up to No. 3.

Cincy cracked the code in Baltimore and showed roster depth. The defense sacked or hit Joe Flacco 10 times and the offensive line kept Andy Dalton upright all day.

No. 3:

Ross Tucker, a former offensive lineman and radio/podcast broadcaster also had the Bengals at number three overall. Only behind last year's Super Bowl teams.

That's a pretty big rise up for the Cincinnati bengals there. Five spots? But that's what happens when you go on the road and you beat what I still believe is a quality opponent in your division. That's why the Bengals moved up. I don't think they played their best ball, but they really, I mean I know their score at the end was pretty close, but the Bengals really dominated that game for the most part, I mean they really did. That was their game.

The unfortunate takeaway from this week's power rankings is that the Bengals next two opponents, the Falcons and the Titians, were the two biggest risers in most rankings, after impressive wins over the Saints and Chiefs respectively.

The Bengals are home for the next two games, where they have been undefeated in the regular season (sigh) since December 9, 2012.