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NFL Power Rankings Week 15: Bengals hit new lows

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It seems to have become a game of “how low can you go?” for the Bengals in the power rankings.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Los Angeles Chargers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals played one of their closest games in quite a while when they went into Los Angeles and gave the Chargers a serious scare. Cincinnati never had a lead, but they were on the cusp of taking it on several occasions, especially late in the game.

It still marked the Bengals’ fifth-straight loss and seventh loss out of the last eight games. They are now far more likely to end up with a top 10 pick than a playoff spot, which you would’ve had a hard time picturing when this team was 4-1.

They also now sit below the Browns as the last team in the AFC North as Cleveland. As a result, the Bengals’ place in the power rankings are predictably low, but a few rankings actually decided to raise their position.

The Bengals had one of their best games, and it seems like it will only be a matter of time before their season has been mathematically ended. Hopefully, we see more efforts like they had against Los Angeles, though.

ESPN: 27 (Last week 25)

Top wish list item: A new coaching staff. Improved performance against the Chargers aside, it’s clear things have grown stale in Cincinnati -- from empty seats all around the stadium to a season that has rapidly deteriorated before the Bengals’ eyes. They could ask for a magic wand to fix all of their injuries this season, but considering the playoffs are out of reach, that won’t solve the bigger problem ahead. Cincinnati needs new life injected into the franchise, and a new coaching staff could do the trick. -- Katherine Terrell

Yahoo Sports: 28 (Last week 28)

It will be lost in the shuffle because the Chargers won and nobody was focused on that game, but the Bengals taking the Chargers to the brink on the road was an impressive effort for a team that has nothing to play for. The Bengals were playing one of the NFL’s best teams, on the road, without A.J. Green and with Jeff Driskel at quarterback. Nobody expected them to be trying a two-point conversion for the tie at the end.

Bleacher Report: 31 (Last week 28)

Cincy’s slide continued Sunday in Los Angeles when the Bengals allowed 165 yards in the first quarter. In fairness, they have been blasted on both sides of the ball by injuries. The team’s quarterback, best receiver and best linebacker all sat out. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green are on injured reserve. And the Bengals did show some fight against one of the AFC’s better teams. But this was Cincy’s fifth straight loss and seventh in eight games. The defense is so bad that it would have to improve to be terrible. And it’s hard to imagine things changing much so long as Marvin Lewis remains the head coach.

Washington Post: 31 (Last week 28)

When does the Bengals’ spirited effort to save Coach Marvin Lewis’s job begin?

CBS Sports: 22 (Last week 23)

They did some good things in the loss to the Chargers. But their season turned ugly at the halfway point -- and they never recovered.

SB Nation: 25 (Last week 27)

Sports Illustrated: T-27 (Last week 30)

Average Ranking: 27.28