Cincinnati Bengals: Unpredictable path of a rebuilding team
The humbling loss that came against the New York Jets was a reminder that the Cincinnati Bengals are a young team on the tail-end of a rebuild going through a culture shift.
Once a team transitions from being an uncompetitive, poor franchise to being a winning squad, it’s a wild ride with inconsistencies. Hang tight, the Bengals are winning again but it could be an up and down journey.
Having an unexpected day is natural coming out of a rebuild
Who Dey Nation was elated after the huge Ravens game, sitting at 5-2. Then, that joy sharply dropped to a bitter disappointment following the Jets loss. This is the very inconsistency a young team toward the end of a rebuild goes through. This is a part of the process and this year’s Bengals still should contend for the playoffs.
Yes, the stripes do have some veterans in players like Vonn Bell, Trey Hendrickson, D.J. Reader, Riley Reiff, Tyler Boyd, and Joe Mixon. However, the youthful presence on this team is still there with Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Jonah Williams, Logan Wilson, and so on.
Even some older players like Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd — though that may be untrue as Mixon is 25 and Boyd is 26 — have rarely won on a consistent basis in their careers. Many of Cincinnati’s players are getting their first taste of winning in the NFL.
While the loss against the Jets specifically was a shocker, maybe going through that one inexcusable loss was to be expected eventually with a young team. In the long run, this could help the Bengals as they now see you cannot overlook any team in the professional league that is the NFL.
This is the first season that Cincinnati has begun to win games and be truly formidable with this core. Really, this is coming a year early too as most expected next season to be the year for a possible playoff birth. Now that victories are back in Cincy, the Bengals having some inconsistent moments is only natural considering the spry youth across the team.
For this sole reason, do not discount Cincinnati due to one poor game. The Bengals have every goal in their sight and should not be counted out.
The Bengals will turn in a familiar performance on Sunday vs. the Browns
This Sunday will be huge to see where this Bengals squad is at. If they were to play poorly again, then maybe it would be time to temper expectations.
However, we will see the Cincy team we saw in the first seven weeks of action. More than likely, the Bengals will come out hungrier than ever, especially in a massive divisional contest.
As mentioned, that Jets loss is a wake-up call. This is an invaluable lesson that proves you cannot sleepwalk into an NFL game. The key components that make up this team are still there and the comradery still exists.
Knowledgable individuals outside of the Bengals fandom know this as well. On Wednesday morning, ESPN’s Get Up split their predictions for who would take the AFC North with the Ravens and Bengals getting predictions, with Mike Greenberg being one who sided with Cincy.
Pay no attention to NFL fans counting the Bengals out again, many are aware this is a young team that would probably slip somewhere. That slip just happened to come against a bad Jets team after a dominating Cincy performance against the Ravens.
The Bengals are going to remain competitive this season, and their path so far is only natural for a team looking to officially end the rebuild process.