The Cincinnati Bengals soared to the top spot in the AFC North following a throttling victory over the Baltimore Ravens. Knowing it was on the road and this was their second consecutive divisional road victory, the Bengals seemed to be in a good place.
That is until the Browns and Jets took that from them. The Jets, behind the first-time star of Mike White, defeated Cincinnati in the most surprising upset of Week 8.
Week 9 showed very little to help the cause for the Bengals.
In the first drive of the game, the Bengals marched down the field. Joe Burrow ended the drive with an interception returned 100 yards to the house. That set the tone for the game as Cincinnati eventually lost to the Browns, 41-16.
The Browns beat the Bengals by one point more than the Bengals beat the Ravens. While style points don’t matter in the NFL, it is a telling victory of how steep of a decline this defense has taken.
That said, the Bengals were originally given an above 50 percent chance at making the playoffs. However, after their brutal loss as favorites at home, that percentage drops down to around 30.
Meanwhile, the Bengals' chances of making the playoffs dropped from 60% to 30.2%, the lowest percentage in the AFC North, according to ESPN FPI. https://t.co/i18ZHHf70o— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) November 8, 2021
The Bengals still have a chance, but their schedule gets more difficult. Losses to the Bears and Jets will haunt them this season, and their only two other losses were to the Browns and Packers, making up the four they have on the season.
While Joe Burrow is still the face of the franchise, his league-high interception count has hurt Cincinnati at the worst time. He owned the mistakes, but now he must learn from them. The second-year quarterback still has a lot of room to grow.
That said, the Bengals still have divisional matches with the Ravens, Browns and Steelers along with a game against the Chiefs and plenty of other thrilling matchups before the playoffs commence.
There’s still hope, but the team must start to figure themselves out sooner rather than later.