The Cincinnati Bengals are now 5-3 and riding a four-game win streak, which seemed improbable after a discouraging 1-3 start to the season. They are coming off a 6-point home win over Buffalo.
Any concern over Joe Burrow’s health has gone out the door as he has been a superstar the last few weeks, leading the Bengals in dropping 31 on the 49ers and 24 on the Bills.
Despite a down week from Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins finally got more involved, which was a welcome sight. Cincinnati also got a tremendous performance from its defense and a surprising showing from its tight ends.
That said, the Bengals are back in the elite category, and the power rankings suggest that as well. Let’s dive into where Cincinnati now ranks in the national media power rankings.
ESPN — No. 7 - Up from No. 11
Hendrickson is one of the league’s most disruptive defensive linemen. He ranks 11th in pass rush win rate as an edge rusher (ESPN/NFL Next Gen Stats). According to ESPN tracking data, Hendrickson has created 9 sacks (fifth most among defenders), 19 incompletions (third most) and 2 interceptions this season. When he gets a first pressure, opponents are completing just 18.2% of their pass attempts. — Ben Baby
Sporting News — No. 7 - Up from No. 9
The Bengals once again owned the Bills offensively and defensively with a fully healthy Joe Burrow at the helm and great scheming vs. Josh Allen. They’re all the way back as a Super Bowl threat.
NFL.com — No. 9 - Up from No. 11
Joe Burrow is not only back, he’s now in the MVP race. His early-season struggles and calf injury are distant memories now, as he showed in the 24-18 win over Buffalo that the Bengals can win without big nights from Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Mixon, both of whom had been significant producers in Cincinnati’s recent turnaround. Tee Higgins also has reasserted himself after a string of forgettable performances, and the tight ends made a surprisingly sizable contribution — another sign the team has added offensive dimensions. The Bengals’ defense really held firm after allowing the first-drive TD. This is a dangerous club now, even if the remaining schedule really is a murderer’s row. I think it’ll only make them stronger in the long run.
CBS Sports — No. 5 - Up from No. 8
Joe Burrow is back. He picked apart the Bills on Monday night, but it’s how he moved that tells us he’s healthy again. The slow start seems like a long time ago.
Yahoo! Sports — No. 8 - Up from No. 10
The Bengals used September as their preseason and now they’re fine. They should continue to get better as Joe Burrow and Tee Higgins get healthier. The only problem might be that the Bengals allowed a fantastic Ravens team to get out to a significant lead in the AFC North race while they figured things out.
USA Today — No. 6 - Up from No. 10
“(W)e’re back, and we’re here,” said WR Tee Higgins after Sunday night’s big win, Cincinnati’s fourth straight victory overall and sixth in a row at home in prime time (a team record). Unfortunately, no more (scheduled) home dates under the lights this season.
Pro Football Talk — No. 8 - Up from No. 11
They might not lose another one.