However, to end their four-game winning streak, the Bengals lost at home to the Houston Texans 30-27. While Joe Burrow appears healthy, the star quarterback did throw two interceptions, hurting Cincinnati’s chances of making a comeback.
While Houston may make the playoffs, it isn’t a contender like San Fran, and the Bengals seem to have analysts and fans both confused as they enter into a high-profile Week 11 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.
That said, let’s dive into where the national media ranks Cincinnati.
ESPN — No. 10 - Down from No. 7
Week 11 will provide a lot of clarity in a tight AFC North. Cincinnati’s margin for error is slim heading into a prime-time matchup against the Ravens. According to ESPN Analytics, the Bengals have a 35.7% chance to make the playoffs. Just 1.5 games separate the teams of the AFC North. The Bengals have two losses against division opponents. Since the division was created in 2002, the 2011 Bengals are the only AFC North team to have four losses in divisional play and still make the playoffs, per ESPN Stats & Information. — Ben Baby
Sports Illustrated — No. 6
I am not really punishing the Bengals, nor should you, because they had the game won. I understand folks who will disagree and count bounces and bad breaks as part of the whole operation. But during the regular season, I often feel like it’s about getting to a place where a victory is possible or likely late in a game. The more often that occurs, the more likely a team is to win. Cincinnati has really dropped games only with an unhealthy Burrow or when a good receiver makes a momentary error. They still create a lot of turnovers. They still don’t turn the ball over much. It’s a winning recipe.
NFL.com — No. 12 - Down from No. 9
Even taking into account all the recent positive vibes around this team, Thursday’s upcoming game at Baltimore suddenly shapes up as a near must-win contest if the Bengals harbor any hopes of claiming a third straight AFC North title. The Ravens’ loss to Cleveland on Sunday created an opportunity to gain ground, but Cincinnati couldn’t take care of business against the impressive Texans. The Bengals are now 5-4 overall and 0-2 in the division — the deck they shuffled is already stacked against them. Lamar Jackson has been a thorn in Cincinnati’s side for years now, and the Bengals already lost to the Ravens once this season. The defense can’t afford to have another day like it did Sunday against Houston — arguably the unit’s worst performance in a few years — in Week 11, or the whole thing could fall apart again.
Yahoo! Sports — No. 12 - Down from No. 8
The Bengals looked like a team that was looking ahead. They face the Ravens on Thursday in a massive AFC North showdown. The problem is that the Bengals’ surprising home loss to the Texans in Week 10 puts them in a much more desperate spot for Thursday’s game.
Pro Football Talk — No. 14 - Down from No. 8
The margin for error is shrinking fast.
CBS Sports — No. 12 - Down from No. 5
The defense was bad in losing to the Texans. They couldn’t stop the run or the pass. That’s a bad look as they ready for the Ravens.
USA Today — No. 10 - Down from No. 6
Tough way to lose your four-game winning streak … especially when you wonder if a healthy Tee Higgins catches the likely game-winning TD pass that Tyler Boyd dropped in the end zone. But Cincinnati better rebound fast for this Thursday night’s trip to Baltimore – a contest which Higgins and DE Trey Hendrickson might have to sit out.
Sporting News — No. 14 - Down from No. 7
The Bengals are battling some key injuries, leaving them much less room for error. Unfortunately, Joe Burrow made key mistakes and the defense wilted against run and pass at home in the loss to the Texans.