For the first time since 2009, the Cincinnati Bengals have the chance to sweep the Pittsburgh Steelers. The rivals play a minimum of two times a season, and it’s always one game that brings the most anticipation for their respective fanbases.
That said, Week 11 was a good showing for the Bengals.
They went into Allegiant Stadium and thrashed a Derek Carr-led Raiders. Las Vegas had been having a good season up till about Week 9 when Henry Ruggs was released and the Jon Gruden situation seemed to impact their organization more.
Anytime you go into a brand-new stadium against a preseason playoff-hopeful team it’s impressive to come out with a victory, let alone a 32-13 beatdown. The Bengals are rolling again, and national media thinks so too.
Now 6-4, let’s dive into where they rank among network’s power rankings.
ESPN — No. 13 - No change from Week 11
It’s easy for a game to be memorable when it’s the only one of its kind. Cincinnati has played in just one Thanksgiving Day game — a blowout loss to Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets in 2010. Cincinnati’s lowlights included a kickoff return allowed for a touchdown and QB Carson Palmer sacked in the end zone for a safety. The Bengals gained a measly 163 total yards, which was fitting for a rough season that ended with a 4-12 record. But things turned around the next year. The Bengals drafted QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green and made the playoffs for the next five seasons. — Ben Baby
NFL.com — No. 15 - Up from No. 16
The Bengals emerged from their bye and collected the most important win of their season. The 32-13 victory over Las Vegas wasn’t exactly a work of art, but Cincinnati stifled the fading Raiders on defense and did enough on offense to snap a two-game losing streak. Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase got back on the same page with a touchdown connection, but the star of the game might have been rookie kicker Evan McPherson, who drilled three field goals from beyond 50 yards in a Tuckerian performance by the fifth-round pick. We’ll need to see more from the Bengals to feel confident they’re ready for a playoff push in the wide-open AFC, but this was a start.
Yahoo! Sports — No. 15 - Up from No. 16
Joe Mixon had 123 yards and two touchdowns Sunday, and has 953 yards from scrimmage and 11 total touchdowns this season. He’s already set a career-best for touchdowns in a season and will likely pass his career best of 1,464 yards from scrimmage if he stays healthy.
The Ringer — No. 14
Sports Illustrated — part of three-way tie at No. 10
The Bengals’ fast start was as much their sound, solid defense as it was Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, and in back-to-back losses preceding their bye week that defense struggled to get people on the ground. Sunday’s win in Vegas looked much more like the team that started 6–2.
Sporting News — No. 12 - Up from No. 15
The Bengals came out strong after their bye, sparked by their defense and running game. Joe Burrow got everyone settled in nicely as the season’s second half got underway. Cincinnati now has a chance at getting into the playoffs.
USA TODAY — No. 15 - No change from Week 11
Only two road games left for a squad that’s rebounded into AFC’s top wild-card slot. And comforting to know what a deadeye rookie K Evan McPherson is after he drilled three field goals from 50+ yards, a team record, in Sunday’s walkover at Las Vegas.
NBC Sports — No. 10
The Bengals have a ton of flaws. So does everyone else in the AFC. As long as Joe Burrow is healthy, there’s no reason Cincy can’t be a legit playoff factor.
CBS Sports — No. 13 - Up from No 17
They came out of their bye with an impressive road victory against the Raiders. That’s the Bengals we saw in October, a team that can certainly be a playoff team.