With the beginning of live football action (even if it is pre-season) comes the start of the Power Rankings season. (Actually did Power Rankings season ever end?) Alas, NFL.com opens this glorious affair with how they think each team looks at this infancy stage of the pre-season. Do the Bengals still leave a sour taste in the mouth for the people doing the rankings or will the health of the team allow them to be once again ranked in the top half of the league?
For Elliot Harrison, he has the Bengals at 10 on his power raning. One spot behind the Steelers and 3 spots above the Ravens. His reasoning is:
As we head into Week 1 of the preseason, everyone is going to want to know if the Bengals will be bungling yet another playoff game come January. Bear in mind, however, that Cincinnati was loaded with the walking wounded during that playoff loss to the Colts last season, much like theChiefs in that crazy wild-card game in the 2013 playoffs. It's hard to win when Andy Dalton is throwing the ball to big-time targets like Ryan Hewitt, Kevin Brock and Rex Burkhead. On that note, methinks tight end Tyler Eifert's return to health will be a huge boost to the prospects of both Dalton and the team.
It is not a bad take. The Bengals were incredibly injured to finish last year's season. Aside from the jab in the beginning, Harrison understands Andy Dalton really had no weapons in the Indianapolis Wild Card game. Having this offense healthy again gives Hue Jackson a bunch of weapons to exploit exposing defenses.
The Browns finally show up on his list at number 30 and aside from some Johnny Football talk there is not much to be excited about from this team at this moment. (Although, Danny Shelton may become a name that Bengals fans get tired of hearing, the kid looks to be a great player).
With the Bengals ranked second in the North, are these rankings fair? Do the Steelers have enough talent on defense to hold the top spot for this division? Is Baltimore being underrated based on the loss of some veterans? Do the Browns have a chance? I think 10 is a fine spot for the Bengals. Based on the finish last year and the possibility of improvements this season, being in the top third is right where I see this team at this point.
Even if it is way too early to have a clue.