Respect is earned in the NFL on the playing field by winning games. The Cincinnati Bengals have done plenty of that en route to an 8-4 record and a 2-game lead in the AFC North, but despite this, they’ve continuously been disrespected when ti comes to power rankings.
Sports Illustrated also has the Bengals at eight, and they made it clear why they don’t like Cincy as legit contenders. No matter what they do, they don’t think Andy Dalton is good enough to compete with the elite QBs of the NFL:
The defense held a dangerous San Diego offense to 10 points Sunday while forcing three turnovers. That’s the level of play Cincinnati will need moving forward, because it is hard to envision Andy Dalton outdueling Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or even Andrew Luck in the playoffs.
No one is going to mistake Dalton for those QBs, but this is a team sport, and frankly, Dalton against their defenses (sans Denver) could actually be more favorable than Luck or Brady vs. the Bengals defense.
I’d much rather have Dalton against a Colts defense than Luck vs. the Bengals with no Reggie Wayne. Sometimes, it’s not about who’s better, but who instead has more favorable matchups.