3) Cincinnati Bengals (5-3)
The Cincinnati Bengals needed a win against the Buffalo Bills to keep pace with their divisional rivals, who did them no favors over the NFL weekend.
Fortunately, the Bengals won versus the Bills and held on to third place in the power rankings. Furthermore, Joe Burrow got another head-to-head victory over Josh Allen. So perhaps the "Allen is better than Burrow" conversations will quiet down just a bit. Or, talking heads can continue being loudly wrong.
Still, the Bengals remain at the bottom of the AFC North standings. At the same time, Cincinnati is now in the playoff picture as the seventh seed.
Cincinnati’s offense has been one of the best-performing offenses in the NFL over the past five games. They are tied for second with Baltimore in expected points added per play and just behind the Philadelphia Eagles. Their 51% offensive success rate ranks third in the league over that same period. This means after a slow and rocky start, Joe Burrow and the Bengals’ offense have started to hit their stride over the last few weeks.
While the Bengals offense has performed better, neither their offense nor defense has been consistently dominant this year, like the defenses in Baltimore and Cleveland. Therefore, the Bengals have not done enough yet to catapult them past the Browns and into second place in this week’s power rankings.
However, if the Browns lose against the Ravens on Sunday, second place in the standings and the power rankings could be for the Bengals’ taking. If the Bengals want a shot at the divisional crown, a Cleveland victory could be what is best for the Queen City Cats. These are confusing times we are living in.
None of those scenarios matter unless the Bengals can secure a victory on Sunday versus the Houston Texans.