It’s not. In fact, it now has the potential to get ugly. This is the reason the Bengals were hoping to start their season off with a 5-1 record, because they knew what was coming afterwards. If they can’t win against rookie quarterbacks, how are they supposed to fare well against the veterans of the league?
This is a good team. A young, explosive, deep team. One that has a chance to play with the big boys for years to come. But right now, they’re not playing even close to that level. Maybe a Sunday Night Football game against the Steelers will remind them of what’s at stake when they play this week. Right now, with so many teams around the league hovering around the .500-mark, it’s going to be tough to make the playoffs with a wild-card against the competition. The AFC East is made up of all 3-3 teams, the Broncos and Chargers are both playoff-caliber foes they will face, and then there’s always the resilient Steelers that pay them a visit on Sunday night. Sitting rather uncomfortably at 2-3, I have a feeling that visit won’t just be to say hello.
I’m going to go out on a limb right now. Out of one of the toughest second-half schedules in the league -if not the toughest- the Bengals need to win six. Six of ten. I’m not saying which six they’ll win, or how they’ll win them, or even if they’ll win them at all. But if they don’t, by the time January comes around, they’ll be sitting on the couch and watching the playoffs.
Six games. The Bengals want to establish themselves as a team that is better than the average rankings they continue to get. They want to show their fans their team can win in the face of adversity. They need to separate themselves from the other 3-3 teams that now permeate the NFL. It starts with Big Ben coming to town.