Entering Week 8, the Bengals are no longer leading the AFC North and are now tied with the Ravens for the second-best record in the division, which would actually put them in position for a playoff spot if the season ended today, as they hold a head-to-head win over the Ravens.
There is still hope the Bengals will make it to the postseason, and that seems to be evident in how some of the experts rank the Bengals in the latest power rankings, the highest being No. 11 at ESPN.
Only 12 teams make the NFL playoffs, and the Bengals are ranked in the 11-13 range in four of the seven main rankings this week. That feels appropriate, as this is a team on the cusp of being playoff-caliber, but midway through the season, probably aren’t quite there.
Thankfully, there’s still plenty of time to get there, and this week against the Buccaneers is a very winnable before the bye in Week 10.
Here are this week’s power rankings:
Need more from: DE Jordan Willis. Opponents are passing for more than 300 yards per game against the Bengals (30th in NFL), and Cincinnati hasn’t been able to get any pressure on opposing quarterbacks, doing so on just 23 percent of dropbacks (also 30th). Willis has yet to record a sack despite playing 236 defensive snaps, and the Bengals rank 27th in sack percentage (5 percent).
Sure, maybe we saw the Bengals exposed on Sunday night. I’m willing to just bang the gong and move on. Newsflash: The Bengals can’t match up with the Chiefs offense. Nothing we didn’t know before kickoff.
The Bengals were smoked. The defense had no answer whatsoever for the Chiefs offense. Even more alarmingly, against one of the NFL’s most porous defenses, the Bengals scored a season-low 10 points.
The Bengals don’t get much time to lick their wounds: The team’s next three games are all against teams (Tampa, New Orleans, at Baltimore) with at least a .500 record.
The Bengals weren’t able to compete Sunday night with the Chiefs. Their two-game losing streak since a 4-1 start means there are, once again, plenty of reasons not to trust the Bengals.
Blowouts happen sometimes, and the Chiefs are great, but 45-10 is really discouraging for a team that will ultimately be judged on whether or not it can win a game like this in January.
That was not a good showing at Kansas City on either side of the ball. The good news is this week’s game isn’t at nighttime and Tampa Bay has defensive issues.
Average ranking: 13.3
Where do you think the Bengals should be ranked this week?