We did a post following that game which routinely had national media placing the Bengals in the top-ten teams in the NFL.
Now, after losing to the Jets and then being obliterated by the Browns, the Bengals are soundly where they were before that incredible win in Baltimore.
It also feels like analysts are starting to worry about Joe Burrow’s production. Burrow is tied for the most interceptions in the NFL and has just two games without a single pick, which is concerning for both Burrow and head coach Zac Taylor.
That said, let’s dive into where the Bengals are being consistently ranked ahead of their bye week, which should give some much-needed time to help them figure out their identity.
ESPN — No. 16 - Down from No. 9
Higgins had a slow start to the season after dealing with a shoulder injury but is starting to show the form he had at the end of 2020. The second-year player hasn’t fully grasped all of his targets, but he has developed into a more crucial piece of the offense as defenses have started to take away rookie Ja’Marr Chase. Look for Bengals QB Joe Burrow to turn to Higgins more often in the final eight games. That should give Higgins the 569 receiving yards he needs to cross the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career. — Ben Baby
NFL — No. 16 - Down from No. 11
The Bengals were blown out at home by the Browns on Sunday and have been outscored 55-16 in their last four-and-a-half quarters of play, dating back to Week 8’s collapse against the Jets. Denzel Ward’s 99-yard pick-six set the tone for a frustrating afternoon for the Bengals, who turned the ball over three times and surrendered big-play scores through the air and on the ground to a Cleveland team that beat them in all phases. Turbulence has arrived, and this will be an important test for Zac Taylor in his quest to instill a new culture in Cincinnati. Will Cincy adjust and move forward ... or crumble and fall apart, like so many past Bengals teams?
CBS Sports — No. 16 - Down from No. 11
The defense has fallen apart in the past few weeks as they’ve lost two straight. It’s hard to believe it’s the same defense. The bye this week is coming at a good time.
Yahoo! Sports — No. 16 - Down from No. 11
Losing to the Jets was bad. Was getting blown out by the Browns worse? Maybe. At least the Jets loss could be explained away by having an emotional letdown. There’s no excuse for looking as bad as Cincinnati did against the Browns. The offensive line is getting exposed, and the defense that played very well for the first seven weeks might be too.
The Ringer — No. 16
Sporting News — No. 15 - Down from No. 11
The Bengals bungled against the Jets and couldn’t recover with the Browns coming out throwing haymakers in “The Jungle.” They’ve gone from the best in Ohio to “oh no” for the second half with Joe Burrow.
NBC Sports — No. 12
Did the Jets break the Bengals?
Washington Post — No. 15 - Down from No. 10
The Bengals head into their bye week struggling after two straight losses. They no longer resemble a top AFC contender. QB Joe Burrow threw two interceptions, one of which was returned 99 yards for a touchdown, in Sunday’s defeat to the Browns. The Bengals need to get back to work and not believe they’ve already arrived.