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NFL Power Rankings: Bengals fall while Patriots remain near top

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Cincinnati is falling down the power rankings, and their next opponent is at or near the top of every ranking.

Cincinnati Bengals v New England Patriots Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

For the third time in four weeks, the Bengals are falling down the NFL Power Rankings.

This week marked the team’s biggest hit this season, which is absolutely fair given the Bengals just got embarrassed in Dallas. The Cowboys are good, but not good enough to jump out to a 28-0 lead over any legitimate playoff team, something the Bengals are starting to look far from being.

USA Today Sports dropped Cincinnati down six spots to No. 18 heading into Week 6...when they play at New England. Anytime you face a Tom Brady-led Patriots team, converting third downs and keeping the clock moving is imperative to keep Brady off the field; that’s something this Bengals team has struggled mightily to do.

One explanation for this heretofore disappointment? The Bengals 30% conversion rate on third down is league's third worst.

Speaking of, the Patriots are ranked No. 1 in that same power ranking.

Elsewhere, NFL.com dropped the Bengals down to No. 14 after a performance we’d all rather forget about.

There's really no getting around it: Cincy got pushed around on both sides of the ball. Watched every play of the second half, when the Bengals actually played better and the Cowboys tapped the brakes considerably (playing clock ball). Still, too many times, Andy Dalton's protection couldn't hold the fort past the three-second mark. Moreover, Dallas was sending four rushers, running stunts and twists. First half? Don't even go there.

That same ranking has the Patriots at No. 2, which is also the case at SB Nation, where Cincinnati comes in at No. 11. At least their ranking seems to indicate this week’s game may at least be competitive.

Yahoo Sports dropped the Bengals down to the No. 14 spot, though they aren’t sure if Cincinnati is a bad team, or if they’re just in a slump during a brutal stretch of the schedule.

Are they bad? I’m stubborn with teams who have had sustained success, so I don’t want to believe that this is the year it falls apart for the Bengals. But they were absolutely dominated in Dallas. The Cowboys look like a good team, but are the Bengals good anymore? They’ve looked vulnerable in each of their losses. It doesn’t help that their next game is Tom Brady’s first home game after his suspension.

That ranking has the Patriots coming in as the No. 1 team.

At CBS Sports, they rank Cincinnati at No. 14 and ask if head coach Marvin Lewis is actually working his way onto the hot seat.

Is Marvin Lewis in trouble if they don't get it going? It won't be easy to get it started at New England this week either.

We’re still a long ways away from Lewis being on any kind of mid-season hot seat, but this current pace will certainly have his seat very hot by season’s end. That same ranking had New England at No. 2.

If you average out all of these, the Bengals got an average ranking of 14.4, which has them just outside the NFL’s 12 best teams, or how many clubs make it to the postseason.

It feels right that the Bengals are just outside of being a playoff team. They’ve shown plenty of promise this season, not to mention they have many of the same guys on the team who went to five straight postseasons coming into this season.

However, there will need to be some drastic improvements overall for this Bengals team to make the postseason streak extend to six in a row, and hopefully yield a win.

As for the Patriots, they got an average ranking of 1.4. They’re a full 10 spots ahead of the Bengals, and based on the first five games, they’ve been that much better. Let’s hope that doesn’t continue in Week 6.