Sunday was a tough one for the Bengals to stomach, but it doesn’t change who they are.
Entering Week 7, the Bengals are still leading the AFC North and are actually tied with the Patriots for the second-best record in the AFC, which would actually put them in position for a playoff first-round bye if the season ended today.
So yeah, the sky isn’t falling in Cincinnati, at least not yet, and that’s evident in how the experts rank the Bengals in the latest power rankings. Several rankings even had the Bengals as a top-10 team, the highest being No. 7 at ESPN, who even gave Cincinnati a 50.5-percent chance of making the playoffs.
Here are this week’s power rankings:
Playoff chances: 50.5 percent. The Bengals rank 23rd in defensive efficiency this season. It doesn’t get any easier as they play the Chiefs and Saints in two of their next three games. -- Clawson
No way around it: That was a crushing loss to the Steelers. And now the Bengals go on the road to face a very good Chiefs team. That’s a tough turnaround.
Bleacher Report: 12 (Last week: 9)
For the ninth time in their last 10 meetings and sixth straight time, the Steelers emerged victorious when Ben Roethlisberger found Antonio Brown for the game-winning touchdown with 10 seconds left on the clock.
It was a devastating defeat after Andy Dalton drove the Bengals the length of the field to take the lead with just over a minute left.
At 4-2, the Bengals are still in first place. But with a trip to Kansas City looming next week and the Saints coming to town a few weeks from now, their days atop the division may be numbered.
Washington Post: 13 (Last week: 5)
The loss to the Steelers doesn’t knock the Bengals out of contention. But it does contribute to the notion that the Bengals simply cannot be trusted in games that matter. There’s little time to sulk, however, with a matchup with the Chiefs in Kansas City this Sunday night.
Sports Illustrated: 10 (Last week: 8)
The Bengals had a chance for a real statement win, but instead the AFC North is wide open with another tough game on the way.
Average ranking: 10.3