The AFC North is often referred to as one of the toughest in the NFL. This year seems to be one that helps prove that idea as the 5-4 Cincinnati Bengals sit at the bottom of the division currently, They also are now the biggest underdogs to win the division.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Bengals are +700 to win the AFC North going into their bye week. The Baltimore Ravens are the favorite to win the division sitting at 6-2 with the Browns and Steelers following them up in that order.
This huge discrepancy likely shows the lack of faith in Cincinnati to turn things around after dropping two terrible losses in a row after a pretty nice start to the season. They once sat atop the AFC after their win against Baltimore, but their most recent loss at home to Cleveland didn’t bode well for their future prospects.
The other thing standing in Cincinnati’s way is the strength of schedule they face to end the season. Seven of their next eight opponents are above .500. They have to face the entire AFC West who all have five wins on the season with another run at each of the AFC North Clubs. Their only break comes with the San Francisco 49ers coming to Cincinnati in December.
However, the Bengals are far from out of things. The Ravens only have six wins on the season while everyone else has five. Cincinnati also has a 2-1 record against the AFC North with two more games at home against the Ravens and Steelers to come. If the Bengals come out of the bye week hot they could easily make a run at the division title.
This team has every chance of at least making the playoffs with seven teams getting a shot in the post season starting this season. Securing a home game would go a long way for this young team learning to find their footing. These next eight games will tell us a lot about how far ahead of schedule this team actually is.