Following their first loss of the 2016 season, the Bengals are sliding down the latest round of NFL Power Rankings.
When you're a top-10 team like Cincinnati has been consistently for the past five years, climbing up the rankings always proves to be a hard task, but falling down them is very easy to do, especially when you lose. That's the case this week, and while KneeGate killed the Bengals' hopes of winning Sunday, the team frankly did nothing to impress for the majority of that game, so it's fair to see them tumble down the rankings.
Even the biggest Bengals supporters are sour on the Bengals this week. Among them is CBS Sports' Pete Prisco, who dropped Cincinnati down seven spots to the No. 10 spot.
10. Bengals: At 1-1, they finally get to play a home game this week. But it won't be easy. The Super Bowl champion Broncos come to town. How do they block Von Miller?
Leave it to ESPN to make no sense with their rankings. After dropping the Bengals following their Week 1 win in New York, ESPN actually bumped them up a spot to No. 8 in this week's ranking.
8. Cincinnati Bengals
Week 2 ranking: No. 9
The Bengals are averaging 2.8 yards per rush this season and have 103 rushing yards in two games. That is a far cry from what the Bengals are trying to do offensively, and could hurt them mightily against the stout Broncos defense this week.
Whatever. The Bengals could win the Super Bowl and ESPN would rank them outside the top five.
Over at SB Nation, Cincinnati fell three spots to the No. 7 ranking after breaking into the top five last week.
At USA Today's For the Win, Cincinnati managed to crack the top 10, but were in the tier of "The I-Have-No-Idea Teams."
10. CINCINNATI BENGALS (6)
No idea. They barely beat the Jets and then lost to the Steelers in a snoozer, and I have no idea if they’re good, they’re good bad, they’re bad good, or they’re just not that good.
I think that's a fair assessment after two weeks. The Bengals have shown flashes of being a Super Bowl contender, but some of their weaknesses appear bad enough to keep them out of the playoffs altogether (looking at you Bodine).
Finally, NFL.com's Elliot Harrison knocked the Bengals down just one spot after losing in Pittsburgh by one score.
9. 1-1 BENGALS
Missed opportunity for the Bengals on Sunday at Heinz Field, with A.J. Green not able to single-handedly carry the team this time around. The franchise star caught just two passes for 38 yards -- after embarrassing one of the best cornerbacks in NFL history last week. At issue for Cincy on Sunday, beyond the two fumbles: shoddy play on third down. Converting just four of 16 attempts on pro football's most imperative down won't cut the mustard against a team like the Steelers at their place. (The cheese, maybe, but not the mustard.)
In all, the Bengals remained in the top 10 of every major power ranking this week. However, their next opponent, the Broncos, rose in just about every ranking. CBS had Denver at No. 2, while SB Nation had them up all the way at No. 1.
Both NFL.com and ESPN ranked the Broncos at No. 3, while ESPN had them at No. 5 while including this nugget as to how dominant their defense has been.
How good is the Broncos' defense? Their past five games (including playoffs) have been against Cam Newton (twice), Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and Andrew Luck. Those QBs combined for three passing touchdowns, five interceptions and 21 sacks. Next up? Andy Dalton and the Bengals.
If Andy Dalton struggles this week, don't put too much stock into it. Denver had made just about every elite NFL quarterback look average over the past year.
It’s also worth noting the Steelers received multiple No. 1 rank kings this week, so perhaps we should feel better about the Bengals if they can play badly and take the top team to the limit.
Regardless, we’ll have a good feel of how good the Bengals are by the end of Week 6 after they finish their game against the Patriots, who are also getting votes as the No. 1 team. The Steelers, Patriots and Broncos are all three getting votes for the top spot, and Cincinnati will have played all three by the time Week 7 is here.
In all, the Bengals received an average ranking of 8.8 this week. That is slightly down from the 6.5 average ranking last week. You really can’t argue with either at this point, especially since the NFL landscape is still coming into focus.
We should get a much clearer picture this week, at least in terms of the AFC when the Broncos and Bengals clash.