The Bengals are now in second place in the AFC with their 4-1 record. They are only behind the undefeated Chiefs who they happen to play in Week 7 in primetime now, and their path to get to where they are has been anything but conventional.
After beating the Falcons by one point the week prior, the Bengals had to come overcome a 17-point deficit this past Sunday to beat the Dolphins at home. Thanks to a couple of wacky touchdowns from Sam Hubbard and Michael Johnson, they were able to beat a team they were favored against by six points in another come-from-behind victory.
The manner in which the Bengals won has caused some to remain cautiously optimistic. They think the Bengals should’ve dominated a team like the Dolphins, but even good teams have off weeks. The difference between a legitimate contender and an average team is they can find a way to win even when they aren’t on their game. That is what Cincinnati did this week.
The Bengals sit in the top 10 of most power rankings, but their game against the Steelers this week could change that position pretty drastically. If Cincinnati wants to prove this isn’t going to be like other years they need to beat Pittsburgh. That would undoubtedly get them the respect they are looking for.
Here are this week’s power rankings:
Rest-of-season SOS ranking: 13th. The Bengals’ toughest remaining game is Week 11 at the Ravens, where they have a 28 percent chance to win, according to FPI. The Bengals eliminated the Ravens from playoff contention in Week 17 last season with a 31-27 win in Baltimore.
The Bengals are moving into the top five after an impressive come-from-behind victory against the Dolphins. Down 17-0 in the third quarter, Cincinnati stormed back with two defensive touchdowns in the fourth to win the game.
The Bengals are still hard to figure out. They didn’t look very good late in the third quarter Sunday when they trailed the shaky Dolphins 17-0. But they won, they’re 4-1, and that’s tough to overlook.
For the first three quarters of Sunday’s matchup with the Miami Dolphins, it appeared that the Cincinnati Bengals were hell-bent on reminding us why they can’t be trusted as serious contenders in the AFC. The Bengals were outclassed on both sides of the ball and trailed 17-3. But NFL games have four quarters. And in the final 15 minutes of the game, the Bengals put it into overdrive. Cincinnati outscored the Dolphins 24-0 in the fourth quarter Sunday, burying Miami in a deluge of scoring that included two defensive scores en-route to a 10-point win that leaves the Bengals in sole possession of first place in the AFC North.
Is it time to begin trusting this Bengals team? Even just a little bit? Perhaps. But complete trust won’t come until this group breaks through in the postseason, of course.
The Bengals escaped with a win against Miami, but they’ll need to play better if they expect to win next week hosting Pittsburgh or the week after that in Kansas City.
Average ranking: 7.16