It was just what the doctor ordered as Cincinnati dominated offensively, while the defense overcame some early struggles to finish strong and help seal a 31-17 win. Sure, Cleveland is bad, but they have been competitive enough to be within reach in the fourth quarter in most of their games, which Cincinnati never allowed them to be.
The win helped give the Bengals a decent boost in the latest round of NFL Power Rankings. Yahoo Sports bumped the Bengals up one spot to No. 17. They also called out noted Bengals hater Rodney Harrison for being ignorant.
Rodney Harrison went on NBC and said A.J. Green’s Hail Mary catch was luck. We must have been watching different plays.
ESPN stuck with the A.J. Green theme while bumping Cincinnati up to the No. 13 spot.
If you can't stop A.J. Green, it's going to be tough to beat the Bengals. Case in point: Green is averaging 10 receptions and 174 yards in wins this season, compared with five receptions and 63 yards in losses. Washington will take its turn trying to stop Green this week.
Mini move upward for the Bengals, whose three wins have come against the Jets, Dolphins and Browns. Those teams have celebrated five wins combined this season. The encouraging sign from Cincy on Sunday was the ground attack, which churned out 271 yards. The oft-maligned Jeremy Hill accounted for much of that total, posting 168 yards on his stat line. Efficient game from Andy Dalton, though his stats were padded by the most ridiculous completion of the weekend.
One of the biggest jumps the Bengals got was at CBS Sports, where they rose six spots up to the No. 18 spot.
They had to get that game against the Browns, and now they could get on a little roll. The division is wide open.
But the biggest bump Cincinnati got was at USA Today Sports thanks to a 10-spot rise to No. 15.
Did you notice Jeremy Hill averaged nearly 19 yards on nine carries Sunday? If he catches fire, expect Cincy to heat up just in time.
All of this was enough for the Bengals to get an average ranking of 16.2. With just wins over the 0-7 Browns, 2-5 Jets, and 3-4 Dolphins, it’s hard to argue much with that ranking for a 3-4 Bengals team.
As for the their next opponent, Washington came in with an average ranking of 15.8. They probably deserve to be a spot or two ahead of Cincinnati at this point, but that should change after Week 8 if the Bengals just take care of business.
Looking at the rest of the AFC North, every other team in the division fell in the rankings, other than the Browns, who remain at No. 32 in all six rankings (they have nowhere to go but up). The Ravens are fading fast thanks to a four-game losing streak, which now has them in the 20s.
As for the Steelers, they’re on a two-game losing streak that has them dipping into the teens, but not quite behind the Bengals, yet. With Pittsburgh and Baltimore being on their bye in Week 8, a Bengals win could lead to several rankings having Cincinnati as the AFC North’s top team next week.