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ESPN ranks Bengals as top 0-2 team

Not the rankings you want to lead, but a cause for some hope.

Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

It has been a rough start for the Cincinnati Bengals. A disaster against the Cleveland Browns to start the season, followed by a gut-wrenching loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, has the outcome looking bleak for some. An 0-2 start is bad enough, but an 0-2 record in the AFC North to go with it is just salt in the wound.

This is the NFL. All rosters have talented players and coaches who do phenomenal things every week. Many teams with 0-2 starts will get things together and go on to have successful seasons. We saw this with the 2022 Bengals.

So out of all of the teams to start 0-2, who is the best?

Per ESPN’s Bill Barnwell, the answer to that is the Cincinnati Bengals. Barnwell went into more depth as to why.

“The good news for the Bengals is that Week 2 wasn’t quite as bad as Week 1. The offense came out slow again, but Joe Burrow & Co. eventually showed signs of their usual selves. They produced three long possessions on four tries in the second half against Baltimore, including touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters on throws to Tee Higgins.”

Basically, Barnwell knows that the Bengals roster is loaded with talent and it is a matter of time until the product on the field reflects that.

Barnwell also knows of things that are still big concerns.

“The problem has been, well, everything else. Cincinnati went three-and-out on each of its two drives in the first quarter and netted only a field goal on its lone drive in the second quarter. After the 27-24 loss, Burrow told reporters he aggravated his right calf injury, an issue that originally began in training camp. Has the calf injury impacted the star quarterback? It’s tough to say. Burrow was the league’s No. 1 passer on the run (traveling 8 or more mph while throwing) last season, posting a 131.5 passer rating. This season, although his numbers on the run are down, he’s still posting a 112.1 rating on the run while actually trying those throws more often.”

Barnwell continues and points to an issue we were all aware could arise, the Bengals’ newly constructed secondary.

“The secondary still looks like a work in progress. Nick Scott, one of the safeties acquired to replace the incumbent duo, left Sunday’s game with a concussion and didn’t return. Awuzie, the team’s top cornerback when healthy a year ago, hasn’t been a full-time player this season. He was in coverage out of the slot for the game-winning touchdown Sunday on a Lamar Jackson fade to Nelson Agholor.”

All in all, the article depicts reasons for fans to stay level-headed, or reasons for them to panic, depending on how they choose to look at it.

There is more information in the full piece if you are an ESPN+ subscriber.