Over the past two months, the Bengals were dropping like an anchor in the power rankings.
Losing seven of eight games will do no favors in terms of public perception, and the Bengals found themselves with the the worst teams in the NFL. Thankfully for them, they faced one of the those lowest-ranked teams in the Raiders and defeated them to end their five-game losing streak.
The aftermath of Cincinnati’s 30-16 victory over Oakland has seen them take a slight jump in most power rankings. However, the Bengals are still two games under .500 and were also eliminated from playoff contention just hours after their win. Because of this, it’ll be a tough task to continue ascending out of the range of which they’re currently ranked.
Biggest breakthrough: DE Sam Hubbard. The rookie third-round pick has shown flashes at times as a rotational player, but he really shined against the Raiders with two sacks and a forced fumble. He has six sacks and now has his eye on Carlos Dunlap’s rookie sacks record of 9.5 with two games left to get it. -- Katherine Terrell
Joe Mixon had 129 yards and two touchdowns for an offense that has no other weapon to worry about. Part of that is the Raiders defense stinks, but Mixon has been fantastic this season. He is fourth in the NFL with 995 rushing yards. Everyone knew what kind of a prospect he was in last year’s draft (we all know by now why he slipped) and that’s coming to fruition.
After a promising start, the 2018 season for the Cincinnati Bengals crumbled. The team suffered a litany of injuries to stars like quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green and dropped seven of eight games heading into a Week 15 date at home against the Raiders. The season may have fallen apart, but amid the rubble, the Bengals appear to have found something to build on. Running back Joe Mixon topped 100 yards on the ground for the second week in a row and third time this season, and the second-year pro needs just five yards next week against the Browns to hit 1,000 for the season.
Beating the Raiders kept open the possibility that the Bengals will finish at .500. But even that greatly diminished goal probably won’t be attained, with road games at Cleveland and Pittsburgh left on the schedule.
It’s too bad they can’t play the Raiders every week. They were a perfect tonic to cure a losing streak.
Average Ranking: 24.83