Here is your weekly dose of punishment. The Bengals are the only team without a win during the 2019 season. That means they are likely to take that final step that most fans were waiting to see in the power rankings.
Power ranking roundup for Week 10:
You can’t love how the Bengals handled the likely end of the Andy Dalton era in Cincinnati. After nine seasons of service that included 128 starts, three Pro Bowl selections and four playoff appearances, Dalton was pushed to the side and made to look like The Problem behind the Bengals’ 0-8 start. And yes, head coach Zac Taylor said the right things in his first press conference after the benching, explaining that his team’s issues went well beyond the quarterback -- but the optics still stink. It’s also not particularly cool that you put Dalton on the bench the same week that A.J. Green returns to practice ... or that you waited until just before the trade deadline to stick him in mothballs ... or that you kicked him off first team on his damn birthday. Andy Dalton has not played good football this season, but here’s hoping he gets a fair shake in 2020.
It’s time for Ryan Finley as they come off the bye. Will he liven up the offense? It won’t be easy with the line in front of him.
Cincinnati has no shortage of scary numbers. One that is as concerning as any is the amount of yards allowed per play. The Bengals are comfortably last in the league and have allowed a league-high 62 explosive plays (rushes of 15-plus yards or passes of 20-plus yards). Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo might be OK with the yardage as long as it doesn’t lead to touchdowns, but it’s still a cause for alarm.
Miami went with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick because Brian Flores wanted to be competitive and presumably avoid 0-16. The Bengals are turning to Ryan Finley, even though Andy Dalton presumably gives them the best chance to win one game. If Finley struggles badly and the Bengals keep losing, perhaps Zac Taylor will rethink that choice. Nobody wants to be 0-16.
With the inside track now on the first pick in the 2020 draft, the Bengals could either have their pick of a presumably deep crop of signal-callers in next year’s class or (if Finley plays well) the opportunity to flip that selection for a bevy of draft picks. Either way, it’s rebuild time in Cincinnati—again. And Sobleski’s not exactly filled with confidence that the franchise can pull one off. “Only the Bengals can lose during their bye week,” he wrote. “Since the Miami Dolphins actually won a game, the Bengals became the league’s only winless team. They might not even be as good as their record indicates. The front office certainly doesn’t know how to plan long term despite the franchise’s disastrous season by holding onto A.J. Green and Andy Dalton at the trade deadline. Can Cincinnati be ranked lower than 32nd overall?”
Ugh, the pain of being the No. 31 team when the No. 32 team finally wins. The Bengals are all alone with zero victories. So they’ve earned their cellar-dweller status. Good luck, Ryan Finley.
No surprises. Even though the Bengals didn’t play last week, the Dolphins winning a game secured Cincinnati’s spot at the bottom of most rankings.
What argument can you have as a team that is the only one left still searching for their first victory of the season?