The Cincinnati Bengals, behind a quick start for the first time this season, won.
They beat the New York Jets 27-12 to push their record to 1-2. Their two field goal losses will surely haunt them for the remainder of the season, but things are starting to improve. We’ll see just how improved when they welcome the Miami Dolphins on Thursday.
The Dolphins are one of two undefeated teams remaining (Eagles are the only other one). Cincinnati is just a few mistakes from being in that conversation, but it will hope to continue to turn the ship around in Week 4.
That said, let’s dive into where Cincinnati was placed after what many may not see them as a drastically improved team following their Week 4 win.
NFL.com — No. 10 - up from No. 12
Cincinnati finally looked the part of a defending conference champion on Sunday, setting the tone with two first-quarter touchdown drives en route to a 27-12 win over the Jets at the Meadowlands. Joe Burrow threw three touchdown passes and was the beneficiary of quality pass protection from an offensive line that struggled mightily in the first two weeks. The Bengals still need to figure out what is wrong with their running game after logging 69 rushing yards, but Sunday was a positive first step after an early stumble. “We just needed to get the first win,” coach Zac Taylor said. “I didn’t really care what it looked like. I didn’t care if it was 3-0 or 49-3. We just needed to rip that Band-Aid off, get that first win. We’ve been a confident team all along.”
USA Today — No. 12 - up from No. 18
What do you know? QB Joe Burrow gets some time to throw for a change, and the AFC champs break back into the win column.
Sports Illustrated — No. 12 - up from No. 18
The Bengals shake off the weight of a potential 0-3 start by throttling poor Joe Flacco in East Rutherford. They leaned on last year’s formula: cover well enough to get their pass rushers into the backfield, and keep Joe Burrow upright long enough to make the ideal throw.
Yahoo! Sports — No. 12 - up from No. 18
The Bengals did what they needed to do against a bad Jets team. They play a good Dolphins team at home on Thursday, and that will be a better barometer of what they’ll be this season.
ESPN — No. 10 - up from No. 15
Joe Burrow is finding his way. The Bengals quarterback easily had his best week of the 2022 season in the Week 3 win over the Jets, when he completed 63.9% of his passes for 275 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He had very good pocket feel and steered the offense in a game the Bengals desperately needed to win. After an emergency appendectomy at the start of training camp, Burrow’s 46.3 QBR is lower than it was last season (60.2). But his latest performance suggests things could be trending upward after a slow start to the season. — Ben Baby
Sporting News — No. 13 - up from No. 16
The Bengals looked a lot more like the Bengals from 2021 with Joe Burrow not taking sacks and getting the downfield passing game going. Their defense also responded like the solid complementary playmaking unit it can be. The next part is getting the rushing attack rolling again.
CBS Sports — No 18 - up from No. 21
The Joe Burrow we saw against the Jets is who we expected to see this season. Now let’s see how they do on a short week against Miami with a chance to even up the record.
The Ringer — No. 10 - same as a week ago
Desperate for a get-right game after losing outright as favorites in Weeks 1 and 2, the Bengals put on a bit of a show on the road against the Jets on Sunday. Joe Burrow made multiple big plays under pressure, and the defense put a stranglehold on Joe Flacco and the New York offense. All three of Burrow’s touchdown passes came on pressured dropbacks, per TruMedia, and Cincinnati’s defense finished the week third in defensive EPA per snap (0.27) and fourth in yards per play allowed (4.32). Zac Taylor admitted the Band-Aid is off for Cincinnati now that they’ve recorded their first win, but a loss to the undefeated Dolphins on a short week could have them scrambling for answers yet again.