The Cincinnati Bengals didn’t play in Week 10. They had their bye, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
After thrashing the Ravens at home, their second road divisional win, the Bengals stayed in the northeast and took on the New York Jets. Mike White went for 405 yards and three touchdowns as the Bengals were primed for a letdown game.
It was their home performance against the Browns, which they lost 41-16, that was more worrisome.
The Bengals needed to regroup and figure out how to win games in these last eight weeks. They’re 5-4, and they should be needing at least nine wins to make the playoffs, if not ten in the season of which 17 will be played.
That said, following their two losses, national media slide the Bengals down to the middle of the teens. Let’s see if that’s where they stayed following their bye.
ESPN — No. 13 - Up from 16
ESPN’s FPI has Cincinnati as underdogs in six of its final eight games. That means Cincinnati will need to steal a couple of games to make the playoffs for the first time since 2015. The Week 13 tilt against the Chargers is essentially a pick ‘em game: Los Angeles is favored 0.4 points, per FPI. Cincinnati would love to bank a win with these final four games: at Denver, vs. Baltimore, vs. Kansas City, at Cleveland. — Ben Baby
The Ringer — No. 16
CBS Sports — No. 17 - Down from 16
They come off their bye in a good place since two of the division teams lost and one tied last week. They face a tough road trip to play the Raiders.
Sporting News — No. 15 - Stayed at 15
The Bengals stayed put during their bye and should have loved the fact the Ravens and Browns lost and the Steelers tied. Joe Burrow gives them a chance to do anything in the second half, but they need to find their earlier-season defensive mojo, stat.
Yahoo! Sports — No. 16 - Stayed at 16
The Bengals had a good week. The Ravens, Steelers and Browns lost while Cincinnati had a bye. The Bengals’ upcoming schedule isn’t easy, but the good news is nobody seems interested in running away with the division.
NFL.com — No. 16 - Stayed at 16
The bye came at an ideal time for defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo. Statistically speaking, the Bengals were one of the best defenses in football over the first seven weeks of the season — but things fell apart in back-to-back losses to the Jets and Browns. Cincinnati surrendered 75 points in the two losses, struggling to stop both the run and the pass. Now in his third season on the job, Anarumo’s future in Cincy might hinge on what happens the rest of the way. Said Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard: “We gotta look at ourselves and see what team we’re really made of these last weeks.”
NBC Sports — No. 13
It was a great bye week for the Bengals, as the Ravens and Browns both lost while the Steelers couldn’t get out of their own way in a tie with the Lions. But none of that matters if the Bengals didn’t fix what ails them during the off week.