While Cincinnati showed more promise in New England than in last week's debacle in Dallas, a loss is still a loss, and the Bengals have now suffered four of them in the past five weeks. That's led to Cincinnati dropping from the top five in many rankings in Week 1 to now barely within the top 15, if even that high heading into Week 7.
In fact, several outlets have dropped Cincinnati all the way down into the mid-20s of their most recent rankings. Among them is USA Today Sports, who dropped the Bengals all the way down to the 25th spot while also giving us a sobering reminder of how far Cincy has fallen from last year.
Their four losses already match last year's total. Can Marvin Lewis survive if this talented squad misses playoffs for first time since 2010?
They just don't look like a playoff team. At 2-4, they have major problems.
SB Nation was the one of the friendliest of all the major rankings, as they have Cincinnati coming in at the 15th spot. Over at ESPN, Cincinnati came in at 16th overall. As they note, a big reason why the Bengals are struggling so much is the offensive line struggling so bad, which is going to get Andy Dalton decimated at the rate it's going.
19: Andy Dalton has been pressured more than he's used to this season, and it's taking a toll. His 19 sacks are second most in the NFL, but worse than that, it's one shy of his sack total in 13 games last season.
Yahoo Sports gave the Bengals their highest ranking heading into Week 7 at 14th overall, though it's mostly due to the Bengals being so good in previous years vs what they've done this year.
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.
Finally, NFL.com dropped the Bengals down to the 20th spot while also making note of the last time Cincinnati was 2-4...
Long time since Cincinnati started the season 2-4. In fact, it was in 2010 when Marvin Lewis' outfit not only began the season 2-4, but lost seven more in a row to fall to 2-11. Carson Palmer was the quarterback back then, throwing to the likes of Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens. Seems like forever ago. Don't think this rendition of the Bengals will plummet that far, but my preseason prediction of 8-8 is starting to feel spot on. If Cincinnati is to make the postseason for the sixth consecutive season, then taking advantage of the two upcoming (winnable) home games ( Browns, then Reskins) is critical. Welcome to the Jungle, baby -- then time to byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
It’s safe to say the Bengals’ stock is as low as it’s ever been in the Andy Dalton-A.J. Green era, but there’s still plenty of games left in the season. We’re not even at the halfway point of this season, and looking at the schedule, there’s a very real chance Cincinnati is 4-4 going into their bye week.
If you average out all of these, the Bengals are averaging a 19 ranking heading into Week 7. That puts the Bengals just barely inside the NFL’s 20 best teams. Once you get into the 20s, you’re probably in the middle of a lost season, especially once we’re at the midpoint of the season. There is still more than enough time for this team to turn their season around.
Last week, the Bengals got an average ranking of 14.4, which had them just outside the NFL’s 12 best teams, or how many clubs make it to the postseason. One more win to this point is essentially the difference been Cincinnati being a bottom-feeder and a playoff-caliber team in the eyes of the ‘experts’ and their rankings.
I’m not sure we should go with the relax mantra just yet, but it’s also too early to go into panic mode as well.
Here are the Power Rankings for the AFC North and the averages for each team. Interestingly, the Bengals and Ravens have the same average ranking, while the Browns are ranked dead last in every ranking. The Steelers are ranked the highest in the AFC North in each ranking as well and have an average ranking of 7.6.