The Cincinnati Bengals started the season 0-2, squeaked out a Monday night win, and followed it up by moving to 1-3 and 0-2 in the division. As things sit, they remain 0-2 in the division but have strung together four straight wins, sweeping the NFC West and beating the 49ers and Bills back-to-back weeks.
If the season ended today, Cincinnati would be in the postseason, as would the entire AFC North. However, even with the Bengals playing extremely well, they still need to remain consistent in their approach and continue to get better and improve as a team and as a unit.
The Bengals don't want to peak in November. There's a lot of football to be played, and the hope is that Cincinnati hasn't reached its full potential yet. Here are three key things the Bengals must do to stay well within that playoff threshold in the AFC.
All player personnel courtesy of Pro Football Reference*
3. Start quick, end stout
Over the Bengals' four-game-win streak, the Bengals' have scored 45 combined points in the first quarter. In three out of the four games, they scored on their very first drive of the game. This is the trend that we just didn't see in the first month of the season. The first half was a drag, and the Bengals would dig themselves a hole that they couldn't get out of.
Now, the combination of Joe Mixon being effective, the tight ends finally being productive, and Joe Burrow’s ability to use his legs after getting himself back to being healthy has opened up the entire playbook for the offense. This helps the defense not have to play in short-field situations and other tough spots that consistently keep them on the field like they were through the first four games.
When this team is clicking in all phases, they are Super Bowl contenders and truly one of the best teams in the NFL. The consistency just has to remain, and that is one of the hardest things to do in the National Football League.