Many thought Cincinnati might be doomed when Joe Burrow went down with a season-ending injury, but Browning has quickly turned into a fan-favorite player and is 3-1 through his first four starts. He has wins over the Vikings, Colts and Jaguars — all teams that could end up in the playoffs this season.
That said, the Bengals sit at 8-6 and are well within the playoff picture now, although, with the Steelers and Chiefs lined up, still making the postseason may be easier said than done. With most power rankings out, let’s dive into where Cincinnati sits with just a few weeks remaining.
NFL.com — No. 12 - Up from No. 13
The Bengals are reinventing winning through adversity, finding new ways each week. Saturday’s wild comeback, spurred by Tee Higgins’ Catch of the Year candidate to tie it late, was just the latest chapter — and another unexpected one A.B. (After Burrow). Jake Browning started slow but ended up with 324 passing yards. He led three fourth-quarter touchdown marches and an overtime field-goal drive (without Ja’Marr Chase) to complete the comeback. Have you stuck with Cincy on this year’s wild ride? From Super Bowl expectations to early-season struggles to beating the 49ers by two TDs to losing Joe Burrowto winning three straight and entering Week 16 as the AFC’s No. 6 seed. Chase is now likely to miss some time with a shoulder injury, which feels like just the next hurdle to overcome.
ESPN — No. 10 - Up from No. 13
Big plays from the Cincinnati defense have helped keep postseason hopes alive. The Bengals have forced a league-high nine turnovers inside their own 25-yard line, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Three of those have been interceptions during Cincinnati’s current three-game winning streak. That has helped offset a leaky defense that also has allowed the most plays of 20 or more yards to opponents (70). — Ben Baby
CBS Sports — No. 12 - Up from No. 13
They are 8-6 and Jake Browning has gone 3-1 in four starts. That’s unreal when you think about where they were when Joe Burrow went down for the year.
USA Today — No. 12 - Up from No. 14
They’re averaging 31.7 points and 418 yards over the past three weeks. OC Brian Callahan should be getting more attention as a 2024 HC candidate.
Sporting News — No. 11 - Up from No. 14
The Jake Browning show keeps producing big hits as the Bengals continue to show the dazzling strength of their offensive system under Zac Taylor and Brian Callahan. Now they need to worry about not having Ja’Marr Chase on top of Joe Burrow, however.
Pro Football Talk — No. 11 - Up from No. 13
The road to the postseason will not be any easier without Ja’Marr Chase.
Yahoo! Sports — No. 10 - Same as last week
Jake Browning had 140 yards at the end of the third quarter, then had 184 yards in the fourth quarter and overtime of the Bengals’ great comeback win, according to John Breech of CBS. For comparison, Bryce Young hasn’t reached 184 yards in more than half of his starts this season. If Browning leads the Bengals to the playoffs, he might be the best story of this entire NFL season.