In between those two games was a victory over Pittsburgh, Tennessee, and Kansas City. With Joe Burrow having lifted the curse of Cleveland, there’s now nothing stopping the star quarterback.
The Bengals will travel to Tampa Bay this week to play Tom Brady and the Bucs. Sitting 9-4, let’s dive into where the Bengals are sitting in the most recent national power rankings.
ESPN — No. 7 - Up from No. 8
The touchdowns tell the story. The Bengals are fourth in the NFL in red zone efficiency, which is why the offense is ranked fifth in points per drive. Defensively, the Bengals are sixth in fewest red zone touchdowns allowed. Cincinnati D-coordinator Lou Anarumo’s mantra of “yards don’t equal points” has been a staple during his four-year tenure. The Bengals give up more field goals per drive than any team in the league, but Anarumo won’t complain as long as Cincinnati keeps opponents out of the end zone. — Ben Baby
NFL.com — No. 3 - Same as last week
Joe Burrow’s greatness can be explained in part by how the Bengals can stay afloat so long as he is at the center of their world. Cincinnati lost wide receivers Tyler Boyd (finger) and Tee Higgins (hamstring) on their first possession on Sunday, but Burrow — with a helping hand from fellow superstar Ja’Marr Chase — was able to lift all boats in a 23-10 win over the Browns. The win allowed the Bengals to keep pace with the Ravens atop the AFC North while putting to bed the notion that Burrow couldn’t beat Kevin Stefanski’s Browns (the QB is now 1-4 lifetime against the coach). After the game, Burrow was quick to point out how well the Bengals are playing in all facets: “We’re just a complete team right now.”
Pro Football Talk — No. 6 - Up from No. 7
First, Ohio. Next, the world.
The Ringer — No. 5 - Same as last week
The Joe Burrow–Ja’Marr Chase connection is lethal. Chase caught 10 of 15 targets for 119 yards and a touchdown in the Bengals’ win over the Browns on Sunday. No other Cincinnati receiver caught more than two passes. Burrow and Chase are thriving, the team’s run game continues to be a highlight, and the defense is showing it can stop the league’s best running backs after holding both Derrick Henry and Nick Chubb to under 3 yards per carry. The Bengals are a legitimate Super Bowl contender peaking at the right time once again.
Yahoo! Sports — No. 6 - Up from No. 5
Trey Hendrickson broke his wrist Sunday and played through it in the fourth quarter, according to NFL Media. He’ll miss a few weeks and that’s bad news for a Bengals team that is tied for first place in the AFC North. Hendrickson, a Pro Bowler last season, is second on the Bengals with six sacks.
New York Post — No. 4 - Up from No. 5
With two receivers sidelined — Tyler Body and Tee Higgins — the Bengals still ended a five-game losing streak against the Browns with a 23-10 victory. Joe Burrow earned his first win in the rivalry with two touchdown passes — including one off a flea-flicker — and Joe Mixon returned from a two-game injury absence to rush for 96 yards.
Pro Football Network — No. 6
The Cincinnati Bengals are rolling! They’ve won seven of their last eight games, and their offense figured out how to run the football a long time ago. Cincinnati’s defense has stepped up in Chidobe Awuzie’s absence, and the Bengals team we thought may contend as a top AFC team looks the part.
With so many offensive weapons and a well-coached defense to boot, the Bengals could be the giant killers. They’re a team that magically found its way to the Super Bowl a season ago, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them there again this season.
NBC Sports — No. 2
The Bengals have held Nick Chubb and Derrick Henry in check while also limiting Patrick Mahomes to a season-low 223 yards passing. Cincy can beat you in a number of ways.