The first two weeks have been ugly for the Cincinnati Bengals, specifically due to the coaching and offense. While the defense has held their opponents to just six total second-half points (nine if you include the overtime period vs. the Steelers in Week 1), the offense has struggled mightily, giving up 5 turnovers and 13 sacks through just two games. In fact, Joe Burrow is currently on pace to be sacked over 100 times this season. This is simply unacceptable, especially after getting what was supposed to be a revamped O-line.
Perhaps most frustrating is the fact that the Bengals were in a perfect position the recover in the AFC North standings from their Week 1 stumble, as the Browns, Ravens, and Steelers all lost to their opponents this past week. Alas, a lethargic offense and last-second opponent field goal- again- leaves the team winless and keeps them in the basement of the division.
All of this has set up for a must-win game for the Bengals next week against the Jets, and they're going against an old foe of theirs in the form of former Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.
Bengals vs Jets in Week 3 is a must-win game
Naturally, the number one reason is playoff implications. Now, it may sound a little silly to be worried about the playoffs after just two weeks of football, however as Elise Jesse states in the tweet below, only 38 teams of 400 that have started 0-2 have gone on to make the playoffs since the merger in 1970. That's only 9.5%. Not great odds.
Of course, those odds only get slimmer when you start the season with three straight losses. To the tune of just 6 teams of 182 that have ever started 0-3 have made the playoffs. That's just a little over 3%. Even worse odds.
This is a must-win game not only for playoff implications but for fan and team morale too, which is understandably pretty low after watching what should've been a fixed issue in a terrible offensive line persist and seeing the offense get nothing going except for 1-2 drives a game. As well as the fact that there are a couple of sneaky storylines heading into the Bengals' week three matchup. For one, last year, after coming off a very impressive beatdown of the then AFC North division leader Baltimore Ravens, the Bengals would march into East Rutherford expecting an easy win against the 2-4 Jets.
In typical Bengals fashion, they'd make a career backup quarterback in Mike White look like a Pro Bowler and lose 34-31 in one of the most stunning upsets of the year. No doubt that last year's loss to this squad is in the mind of the fans.
The other storyline, something I alluded to earlier, is the fact they're going against a very familiar face in former Ravens QB Joe Flacco, who is fresh off leading a comeback in the last two minutes of a game against another AFC North team in the Cleveland Browns.
There is no way around it, this is a must-win game for the Bengals if they want to keep any playoff hopes they have alive.