clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Argument for why Bengals are best team in AFC

While we still wait for some undefeated teams to fall, at this point in the season, the Bengals look like the best team in the AFC.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals have tied their best start in franchise history. In any normal season of the NFL, there would be one, maybe two undefeated teams and Cincinnati could lay claim to being the top squad in the league. So far, this isn't any normal season.

The Bengals are currently tied with five other teams in the NFL with a spotless record. Two of these teams reside in the AFC. The New England Patriots and Denver Broncos also remain undefeated. However, I see Cincinnati as better than both of these teams.

Let's start with the easy one. The Denver Broncos are the least impressive undefeated team we have seen this season. When you talk about luck breaks, the Broncos have cashed in all of theirs to remain undefeated. An insane fumble by Jamaal Charles, a lucky overtime win against Cleveland and close wins against the Ravens, Vikings and Raiders have given Denver their 6-0 record. Their problems start at quarterback where Peyton Manning is playing at a fraction of the level we have been accustomed to seeing. The Bronco's defense has kept them alive and the offense will eventually become a liability.

The Bengals will meet up in Denver with the Broncos in the second to last game of the season, and this could very well be a pivotal, deciding game in the seedings for the post season.

The Patriots have a legitimate case for claiming the title of the top team in the AFC. They should hold the top spot in all power rankings as they are the defending champs and have yet to lose. But, their team is also not inspiring at times. Take a look at how they handled Buffalo earlier this season. They allowed 19 points in the fourth quarter and almost blew the game. New England was also losing at half time to the woeful Colts.

The Bengals are not without their faults. We have seen this team need to climb out of deficits on two occasions this season to remain unbeaten. What is outstanding about the Bengals is they have yet to score less than 24 points in a game and have not given up more than 24 points in a game this season.

The Bengals' offense also ranks:

  • 4th in total points
  • 3rd in points per game
  • 2nd in 3rd down percentage
  • 3rd in yards per game

Strong rankings, on top of that, Cincinnati holds a +60 point differential. This is pretty impressive considering the Bengals have faced the number one offense in the San Diego Chargers. The also faced the Buffalo Bills and held them to 11 less points than the Patriots, in a game also played in Buffalo.

Because the Bengals and Patriots won't face each other during the regular season, though they could face off in the postseason, there is no clear way to distinguish the better squad. The Bengals have a shot this weekend to add another point of comparison as they face the Steelers. This is another common opponent between the two teams.

The obvious strength of the Patriots is quarterback Tom Brady. While Andy Dalton has nowhere near the resume of Brady, this season he is going toe-to-toe with him. At this point in the season, Dalton holds a three point advantage in quarterback rating and almost a full yard better per pass average. He has double the amount of long ball completions and has been sacked 10 less times than Brady.

There are more than the three undefeated teams in the AFC that may lay claim to the AFC crown. However, at this point in the season no other team has less than two losses, so they can be discounted based on that alone. What are your thoughts? Are the Bengals the top squad in the AFC?