The Cincinnati Bengals got a much-needed bye in Week 7.
They will get to reevaluate their strategy and brace for a difficult last few months of the season. With the 49ers on the road then the Bills at home, the Bengals will have a difficult next few weeks, which is where the help of an early-season bye may come into play.
The Bengals entered the bye week with a 3-3 record, and all three AFC North teams won. The Ravens lead the division with a 5-2 record. Both the Steelers and Browns are 4-2 with the Bengals last in the division at 3-3.
Cincinnati has some ground to make up, but the talent is there. That said, let’s dive into where national media ranks this team heading into Week 8.
Pro Football Network — No. 11
The Bengals have been banged up all season. While many teams likely want their off week to reside somewhere close to the midway point, Cincinnati players and coaches may be breathing a sigh of relief this week. A healthy Bengals offense should make for a better complementary unit compared to their impressive defense.
Sporting News — No. 12
The Bengals will hope to get healthier everywhere offensively with and around Joe Burrow ahead of huge matchup vs. the 49ers on the road in Week 8. They have a chance to make a Browns-like statement there as talented underdogs.
Clutch Points — No. 16
After their Week 6 win over the Seahawks and then their Week 7 bye, the Cincinnati Bengals will get welcomed back with a matchup with the San Francisco 49ers. Joe Burrow still doesn’t look fully like himself but has shown some signs of life. If he, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Joe Mixon can all get on the same page, then this team has enough firepower to re-introduce themselves in the AFC playoff picture.
NFL.com — No. 12
Is there a way to kick-start the run game? That had to be a discussion topic for Cincinnati over the bye. The Bengals’ ground attack wasn’t very explosive last year, but it was effective. This season, it has been neither. The good news is that we’re really talking about making incremental gains over the final 11 games. The bad news is that the personnel is arguably worse. Joe Mixon can’t make people miss this year, and the Bengals have yet to identify an effective RB2. I know Joe Burrow’s at his best out of the shotgun, but it’s worth asking why the Bengals have seven under-center snaps in six games after logging more than 200 a year ago.
ESPN — No. 13
The Bengals’ 2023 second-round pick has been pressed into action because of injuries and has dazzled in his debut. He has allowed just four receptions on 16 targets as the nearest defender, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. Turner boasts an 81.3% coverage success rate and a minus-15.9 expected points added when targeted. Cincinnati has looked for ways to use Turner, regardless if Chidobe Awuzie has been healthy or not. Turner and Cam Taylor-Britt are poised to be the team’s outside cornerbacks of the future. — Ben Baby
CBS Sports — No. 14
The bye had to be good for this team, especially Joe Burrow and his calf. They needed the time. But now they face a brutal trip to play the 49ers.
Pro Football Talk — No. 18
Sunday’s rematch of Super Bowl XVI and XXIII becomes a huge game for both teams.
Yahoo! Sports — No. 12
The Bengals have the toughest remaining schedule in the NFL, according to Tankathon. Their next month is an indication of that: They play at San Francisco, host the Bills, have a tougher-than-expected test against the Texans and then play a massive AFC North game at the Ravens. It’s a good thing the Bengals got back to .500 before the bye because there are no breaks for a while.