These Cincinnati Bengals have an eerily similar feel to the group that started off 0-2, then 1-2 last season. Joe Burrow missed camp and preseason, as he did this year.
The star got going against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3, and the fans needed to see something to cheer for. The Bengals won 19-16 as Burrow went for 259 yards, 141 of which went to star receiver Ja’Marr Chase.
Having been to the AFC Championship Game for two straight seasons, analysts know what this team is capable of when clicking at full strength. Let’s see if that aided where they sit in the power rankings after a rough few games to open the season.
USA Today - No. 11 - Up from No. 17
Wasn’t pretty for injured QB Joe Burrow (calf) on Monday night, but Cincinnati secured a desperately needed victory in its bid to reach the playoffs in successive seasons despite starting 0-2.
NY Post - No. 14
ESPN - No. 18 - Stayed put
A very small sample size and two major factors (bad weather, QB Joe Burrow’s bad right calf) should be considered when discussing the Cincinnati offense. But the lack of production on first and second downs are something that could be a long-term issue. Through the first two weeks of the season, the Bengals were last in several categories in early downs: yards gained, first downs, QBR, yards per passing attempt. In Week 2, Cincinnati relied on third-down success to extend drives. Being better on early downs could help flip the Bengals’ fortunes the rest of the season. — Ben Baby
Sporting News - No. 14 - Up from No. 19
The Bengals did get Joe Burrow to start on Monday night to help save their season vs. the Rams, but it was the running game and defense that put the stamp on reminding everyone they can be a complete winning team.
Pro Football Network - No. 11 - Up from No. 16
The Bengals went into Monday Night Football in a dire situation. A loss would mean a 0-3 start, which is a near death blow to a team’s playoff chances. A win would get them to 1-2 on the year and only one game behind the AFC North division lead. With a hobbled Joe Burrow who was questionable all the way up until inactives were released, could the Bengals save their season?
The Action Network (Taylor’s Version) - No. 11 - Up from No. 14
Well, it wasn’t exactly Better Than Revenge in the Super Bowl rematch, but the Bengals slogged through and got their first win of the season. Survive and advance, right? It’s pretty clear that Joe Burrow remains very limited after his Cruel Summer injury. His EPA per play and ADOT both ranked 27th percentile or below, and his 26-of-49 passing (53%) was especially poor for a QB known for his accuracy attempting such short throws. Burrow barely moved much in the pocket and got everything out quick, and the Bengals struggled on third down at 5-of-17. But it was just enough. Cincinnati’s defensive line was the star, and Ja’Marr Chase put up a big 12/141 line on talent alone. I’m not sure we should be particularly enthusiastic about this Bengals performance, but hey, they’re 1-2 and only a game back in the division after all that. Take what you can get.
The Baltimore Sun - No. 16 - Up from No. 21
NFL.com - No. 11 - Up from No. 12
Joe Burrow gutted out Monday’s (must?-)win over the Rams, working through a slow start to lead a massive touchdown drive on the Bengals’ first possession of the third quarter. Ja’Marr Chase provided his first transcendent performance of the season (12 catches for 141 yards), but this Cincinnati victory was spearheaded by a defense that, frankly, got a little undressed by the Ravens in Week 2. The Rams made some noise on big pass plays, but the story of the game was the pressure applied by Trey Hendrickson and a really good Cincy front. If that group can take over games while the Bengals round into form offensively (and let Burrow heal), they might just be OK in the long run.
Where do you believe the Bengals should be ranked? Let us know in the comments section!