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Cincinnati Bengals are a tough team to evaluate at BYE week

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) celebrates with wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) after they connect for Chase's career-first touchdown in the second quarter of the NFL Week One game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Minnesota Vikings at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. The Bengals led 14-7 at halftime.Minnesota Vikings At Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) celebrates with wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) after they connect for Chase's career-first touchdown in the second quarter of the NFL Week One game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Minnesota Vikings at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. The Bengals led 14-7 at halftime.Minnesota Vikings At Cincinnati Bengals /
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The Cincinnati Bengals had their BYE this week. The BYE is always a good time to take stock of where a team is at. However, this year’s Bengals make that a tough task.

In some respects, Cincinnati is in really good shape as they enjoyed their week off. In 2019, the Bengals were 0-8 at their BYE week. Last year, they were 2-5-1. This year, a 5-4 mark means talk of playoff scenarios in November more than mock drafts for the first time in the Zac Taylor era.

That kind of progress should not be disregarded. If you had told any Bengals fan before the season started that the team would be 5-4 at the BYE week, they would have happily taken it.

Even so, the losses in the final two games before the BYE are cause for great concern. The Jets and Browns combined to torch the Bengals for 75 points and 861 yards of offense.

The same Bengals defense allowed a combined 27 points in blowout divisional road wins against Pittsburgh and Baltimore, two current playoff teams in the AFC.

The Cincinnati offense has been equally unpredictable. Joe Burrow is third in the NFL with 20 touchdown passes. However, he is also tied for the league lead with 11 interceptions.

Rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase has been fantastic, posting the third-most receiving yards in the NFL thus far. But the final two games before the BYE marked the first time all year where less than half the passes thrown his way were complete.

Cincinnati put up 41 points in Baltimore but was shut out in half of the eight quarters it played against Jacksonville and Chicago. Those two teams have combined for just five wins this season.

What does it all mean for the Cincinnati Bengals?

The Bengals are the most maddening type of team to follow each week. The roster is finally good enough to sometimes overcome whatever coaching deficiencies the organization may still have, but far too young to have any idea what to expect game in and game out.

The saving grace for the Bengals may be the entire AFC being nearly impossible to predict each week. Only the Titans have fewer than three losses and tiebreakers are the only thing keeping Cincinnati out of a playoff spot at the moment.

Next. Why the Bengals Will Make the Playoffs. dark

Still, the Bengals may have the highest ceiling and lowest floor in the entire conference and that speaks volumes. So, buckle up for the back half of the season Bengals fans. Anyone who tells you they know what’s coming is lying.

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