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NFL Week 9 Power Rankings: Bengals on the brink of respectability

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The Bengals’ win against the Colts put them back in position to prove they are worthy of being viewed as a respectable team in the NFL.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals barely skinned out a win against the Colts this week, but a win is a win. The win, however, didn’t prompt a huge rise in the Bengals’ spot on the power rankings around the NFL landscape.

A narrow win over the 2-6 Colts will do that.

In some cases, the Bengals cracked the teens, but most outlets have them somewhere in the mid 20’s. That is fair given the way in which they won this week. It took a once a year play from Carlos Dunlap for the Bengals to secure a win against the Colts. The Bengals looked bad on defense, offense, and even special teams for a lot of the game. Luckily they were lining up against the Colts who may be in the running for the worst team in the league this season.

Still at 3-4 the Bengals will be lined up with a chance at redemption. They play the Jaguars next week who are currently slated for the final Wild Card spot. Then they face three teams who have looked down right bad the past few weeks: the Titans, Broncos and Browns. The Bengals will have to make the most of this stretch if they want to end up in the playoffs and gain some respect in the power rankings next week.

Here’s a look at this week’s power rankings.

ESPN: 20

The Bengals have won three of their past four to get them back into the playoff picture, but their upcoming schedule is concerning. Cincinnati plays its next three on the road -- at the Jaguars, Titans and Broncos -- and they've lost eight straight road games outside of Cleveland.

CBS: 23

They made it interesting against the struggling Colts, and now must go to Jacksonville and face that good defense. That won't be easy.

NFL.com: 24

Wasn't pretty, but the Bengals got back to respectability Sunday. Sort of. Beating the Andrew Luck-less Colts by one point at home doesn't, well, elicit confidence. For the time being, however, Cincy is as much in the playoff race as any team. As sad as it might sound, the 3-4 Bengals only have two more losses than the best teams in the AFC. The division record is 1-2, but it's the impending conference schedule that will determine their season: at Jaguars in Week 9, at Titans in Week 10 and at Broncos in Week 11. Ew.

Yahoo Sports: 23

We’ve seen bits and pieces from Joe Mixon, but the breakout hasn’t come yet. He looked great on a 67-yard catch Sunday, but only gained 18 rushing yards on 11 carries against a bad Colts team. He’s averaging just three yards per carry this season. It’s tough to tell how much a horrible offensive line is to blame.

Washington Post: 17

The Bengals still can put their season back together. But they’ll have to do so facing a difficult stretch with three straight road games at Jacksonville, Tennessee and Denver.

Bengals in the Power Rankings: NFL Week 9

Site This Week Last Week Difference
Site This Week Last Week Difference
ESPN 20 26 6+
CBS 23 28 5+
NFL.com 24 24 0
SB Nation 21 24 3+
Yahoo 23 25 2+
Washington Post 17 25 8+
Bleacher Report 15 15 0
Average 20.42857143 23.85714286