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Bengals running backs among NFL’s best in ESPN ranking

Despite the Bengals’ slow start offensively, ESPN is still very high on the backfield tandem of Bernard and Hill.

Cincinnati Bengals v Buffalo Bills Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Bengals’ backfield tandem of Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard is one of the best 1-2 punches you’ll find in the NFL.

While that hasn’t been on display as much as Cincinnati had hoped through the first quarter of the season, Hill and Bernard have still done plenty of damage through the first four games. Hill has rushed for 221 yards and three scores on 58 carries.

Bernard hasn’t done much on the ground, but he has caught 19 balls for 165 yards and a score this season. Together, Hill and Bernard have combined to average 123 all-purpose yards and one score per game.

That’s good enough to earn them the seventh-overall spot in ESPN’s ranking of all 32 NFL backfields.

7. Cincinnati Bengals

Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard: The production has been a bit up and down for this duo, but there may not be a better complementary pair in football. Hill is a power player between the tackles, while Bernard could probably play slot receiver if asked; he had almost 150 catches in his first three seasons in the league.

This ranking is likely more due to what Hill and Bernard have done in the past vs what they’ve done this season. They’ve found it tough to make plays behind what’s been an average offensive line thus far.

Those two could only muster up 89 rushing yards on 31 carries against the Dolphins on Thursday night. That was a mere 2.9 yards per carry vs a defense that was among the NFL’s worst at stopping the run going into Week 4.

That’s part of why Cincinnati has the third-worst average yards per carry (3.1) in the NFL. It’s shocking how bad the Bengals have been at running the ball this season, making this ranking seem odd to say the least.

However, the offense as a whole has really underperformed through the first four weeks, but there is still plenty of season left for them to get it fixed. That’s why I’m fine with Bernard and Hill being high on this list, even though they’ve been nothing close to a top-10 backfield this season.

Where would you rank the Bengals’ backfield?