Two weeks ago, the Cincinnati Bengals were 0-2 and looked as though their Super Bowl run seven months prior was a fluke. As a result, they were in last place in their division and I put them in last place in my AFC North power rankings.
While people might have been mad about that (because honestly -- the Steelers are trash), no one could really blame me for it. The Bengals were the only winless team in the division and therefore, they earned that spot in the basement.
Fast forward to present day, however, and we're singing an entirely different tune. The Bengals went from being the worst team in the division (yes, even worse than the Steelers) to now arguably being the best.
Are the Bengals the best team in the AFC North?
Three teams boast 2-2 records in the division with the Bengals being one of those squads. Cincinnati has taken down the Jets and Dolphins in back-to-back weeks while the Browns beat the Steelers and then lost to the Falcons and the Ravens beat the Patriots and then choked away another win against the Bills. The Ravens and Browns could both easily be 4-0 right now but haven't been able to deliver the final knockout punch when it's been needed.
While those three teams all have the same records and I'd hear arguments for why each could be considered the best in the division, the Bengals seem like the obvious choice. Obviously, this is a Bengals blog and we're going to hype up our guys, but those of you reading know that I'm a fair critic. If the Bengals are playing like garbage, I'll say so. I'm not afraid of hurting anyone's feelings or ticking people off by stating that.
The Bengals are the best team in the division because they have the best defense out of the bunch and have proven that in four games. Joe Burrow is also slowly but surely starting to look like the guy we saw in 2021 and the offensive weapons make this team dangerous (even if Joe Mixon isn't looking great through four games).
The Ravens would have previously been my pick as the best in the division but they've now blown two massive leads. They're not going to be trusted to hold onto a big lead moving forward and that's why I can't put too much stock into them anymore. They're still a playoff-caliber team but they're not better than the Bengals, though I guess we'll find out officially on Sunday night when the two square off.
As for the Browns, they have Jacoby Brissett at the helm and he's a backup quarterback for a reason. The Steelers can't be considered for this conversation because of their record but that win they have over the Bengals is going to hurt down the road.
All right fans, I want to hear from you. Who do you think is the best team in the AFC North after four weeks of action?