NFL Power Rankings are always fun at this time of the year.
Another wild and whacky free agency period has once again changed the landscape of the NFL. That's why power rankings at this time of the NFL offseason are a good reminder of where teams ended the previous season and how free agency may have affected them.
Most teams come out of free agency without much of a big difference regarding their standing in the NFL.But then teams like the Broncos, Texans and Jets have undergone dramatic changes this offseason, which has led to a lot of shifting in the rankings.
Thankfully, that's not the case with the Bengals. They lost some key guys like Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, but did just enough in resigning players like George Iloka and adding key veterans like Karlos Dansby to remain a high-ranking club.
CBS Sports' Pete Prisco has the Bengals coming in at No. 5, the highest ranking they've gotten this offseason.
They suffered the loss of their No. 2 (Marvin Jones) and No. 3 (Mohamed Sanu) receivers in free agency. That's on top of losing coordinator Hue Jackson to the Browns. That's tough.
Over at ESPN, the Bengals came in at No. 8, the same ranking they held following Super Bowl 50.
2015 record: 12-4
Voting results: 743 points
Post-Super Bowl ranking: No. 8
Stats & Information's take: The only free agent the Bengals have signed from another team this offseason is safety Taylor Mays, who played for the Bengals from 2011-14.
That same ranking has the Steelers at No. 5 to lead the AFC North. The 5-8 range is perfect for the Bengals right now. They're still a playoff team on the cusp of being a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
As for the AFC North as a whole, NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal has this division ranked as the league's best.
1. AFC North: The expected resurgence of the Ravens gives the division three legitimate contenders, not to mention three bona fide human starting quarterbacks now that Andy has obliterated the Dalton Scale. The schedule won't help the Browns.
Another good debate to come out of these rankings is who should be the top team in the AFC North. The Steelers and Bengals have both ultimately lost more than they've gained this offseason, but the biggest loss is Pittsburgh receiver Martavis Bryant who will be out for the entire season due to a(nother) violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy.
Stud tight end and Bengal-killer Heath Miller also retired this offseason before being replaced with Lardarius Green. It's hard to say right now if that's an upgrade, downgrade or offsetting move.
But the Bengals lost both Sanu and Jones, not to mention starting right tackle Andre Smith. You really could make a good case for either team losing more this offseason, and neither club did enough yet that they should be considered better than they were last year.
That could be good for the Bengals since they were a clear Super Bowl contender with Andy Dalton in the lineup, whereas the Steelers were a fringe playoff team, just barely staying afloat. That means Cincinnati should be the team atop the AFC North with Pittsburgh close behind.
Where do you think the Bengals should be ranked in the NFL hierarchy?