The Cincinnati Bengals took down the Pittsburgh Steelers 37-30 in Week 11.
While the usual Bengals-Steelers game always feels dirtier than it has to be, the road team left with a big-time win that could have almost been deemed a must-win scenario for Cincinnati.
Samaje Perine had three receiving touchdowns, matching his career total coming into the game. He was a stud with Joe Mixon leaving the game with a head injury.
The Bengals are second in the AFC North and will head to Tennessee to take on the Titans next week. With DJ Reader back, the Bengals should be able to find the same success against Derrick Henry as they did in the playoffs last season.
That said, let’s dive into where they stand in the power rankings entering Week 12.
ESPN — No. 11 - Up from No. 13
One of Cincinnati’s strengths from last season has quietly gotten significantly worse. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Bengals allow their opponents to convert on third-down rushes 69.6% of the time, which is worst in the league. Getting defensive tackle DJ Reader back in the fold should boost the unit, but Cincinnati has been gashed on the ground far too often this season. — Ben Baby
The Ringer — No. 12 - Down from No. 9
The Bengals’ win over the Steelers on Sunday kept their playoff hopes alive, and more good news flooded in Monday with Ja’Marr Chase returning to practice. But nothing is guaranteed for Cincinnati as they prepare for a road matchup with the Titans next week and then host the Chiefs in Week 13. Getting Chase back healthy and ensuring Joe Burrow can get the ball out quickly and cleanly will be necessary for the Bengals to earn a spot in the playoffs. Burrow ranks fifth in EPA per dropback when kept clean and just 28th in the same statistic when pressured.
Fox News — No. 10 - Up from No. 12
A huge matchup awaits the Bengals, who are just behind the Ravens in the AFC North. Joe Burrow and the boys need to do enough to counter the offensive onslaught that Derrick Henry can provide defenses.
Yahoo! Sports — No. 10 - Up from No. 11
Nobody had backup running back Samaje Perine randomly scoring three receiving touchdowns in Sunday’s win. Joe Mixon left the game with a concussion and if he misses any time, Perine steps into an important role for the Bengals.
Sports Illustrated — No. 11
The Bengals have been one of the trickiest teams to place on this list throughout the year, and I could entertain the argument that they deserve to be higher based on how they’ve performed without Ja’Marr Chase. Ultimately, they could emerge, just like they did last year, as a fierce contender without garnering much of our attention during the regular season. They still have a top-10-ish defense and a top-five-ish offense, and they survived a T.J. Watt onslaught Sunday, which is difficult for any traditional pocket passer. Their game against Tennessee, a rematch of the thrilling AFC divisional round matchup from last year, will provide many answers.
NFL.com — No. 10 - Up from No. 11
Joe Burrow, in case you might have forgotten, is that dude. The Bengals quarterback didn’t have Ja’Marr Chase (hip) for the third straight week and he was forced to find a way on Sunday without Joe Mixon, the star running back who exited the game with a concussion. Burrow was nails anyway, throwing for 355 yards and four touchdowns in a 37-30 win over a stubborn Steelers team. Patrick Mahomes feels like the favorite in the NFL MVP race, but don’t be surprised if Burrow makes a charge along with the rest of the Bengals in the season’s final weeks. Speaking of Chase, Bengals coach Zac Taylor said Monday that the star wideout is on target to return to practice this week.
Pro Football Network — No. 8
The Cincinnati Bengals miss Chidobe Awuzie. Their secondary is having communication issues in bunches, and it led to multiple receivers running free for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Joe Burrow played well against Pittsburgh, with tipped passes at the line being the main culprit of any issues he had on Sunday. However, Pittsburgh’s defensive front is known to do that.
Sporting News — No. 11 - Up from No. 13
The Bengals found their offensive groove with more backup punch around Joe Burrow and are setting up for bigger things when Ja’Marr Chase can return soon. They can get really hot at the right time, much like their 2021 Super Bowl run.