It is so easy to overreact. Yes, the Cincinnati offensive line has really struggled in pass protection, and the defense has been dismal. But the Bengals sit at 1-1, exactly where most of you probably thought they would be at this point before the season began. Reasonable, rational fans understand that it is extremely difficult to make judgments based off of a sample of just two games.
So with that disclaimer out of the way, throw rationality out the window. Sunday’s game at Washington is a must-win contest if Cincinnati harbors any legitimate hope of making the playoffs. I make this (some would say ridiculous) statement not because of how (un)impressive the team has looked thus far, but based on the difficulty of the late-season schedule.
The Bengals have shown absolutely no ability to knock off good NFL teams over the past year-plus, but have been extremely reliable in winning matchups in which they are favored. I know most Bengal fans are sick to death of this statistic, but it bears repeating: last season the club was 0-7 against playoff teams, and 9-0 against everyone else. The first two games this year against Baltimore and Cleveland have looked to be more of the same in that regard. This is an important point, because Cincinnati is currently in the soft portion of its schedule, with games against Jacksonville, Miami, and Cleveland following this week’s tilt against the Redskins.