Is this the greatest Bengals team of all-time?
Are we getting just a little excited about how well the Cincinnati Bengals have been playing and specifically how they handled the Bills on Sunday afternoon by asking this question?
Let's refer to a tweet that started this brushfire.
Firstly, people are probably asking; what is Elo? Like the band? No, the Elo rating system is a way of calculating the relative skill levels of players in a zero-sum game. It was initially used for Chess but it can be used in any game/sport with two opponents.
For a more in-depth explanation of Elo rating, you can read here. You can also read how Five Thirty-Eight uses the Elo rating system to predict NFL games.
Now, initially, when someone comes in with a take so hot it burns off your eyebrows, people need to take it with a grain of salt but here someone is coming with scientific proof. Granted nowadays people don't care about scientific proof so for many this will be "fake news".
So...is this the best Bengals team to ever take the field?
This stinks of recency bias. Yes, this win against the Bills was the best any Cincy fan has seen them play in a long time. However, anytime a team beats another good team in dominating fashion, everyone is quick with the hot takes.
However, no one ever has statistics to back them up and according to Five Thirty-Eight's statistical analysis, Sunday's team against the Bills was the best team in Bengals history by an Elo rating of nearly 60 points.
Last Sunday their rating was 1730. Their next highest was 1672 which came against the Browns in the 2015 season (31-10 on Nov. 5, 2015). The next highest was their performance against the Chargers in the infamous "Freezer Bowl" (the 1982 AFC conference championship game with a 27-7 final). They had a rating of 1666 for that game.
The third-highest rating came against this week's opponent Kansas City. In 1976, our boys beat the Chiefs 27-24 on Nov. 21, 1976. It does feel slightly inflated to have such a high rating, especially for people who watched the Bills this season.
Josh Allen seems to have regressed and Buffalo was just able to put up so many points and it covered up the fact that he makes questionable decisions. Plus, the Bills had been on a skid for a few weeks now. Not to take away from what Cincinnati did in that bitter Buffalo snow, but Buffalo was not as scary as they were at the beginning of the season.
If you only put up numbers and take away game tape or the "eyes", what does your "Eyes" tell you? Any football fan can tell you the Bills in the divisional round were not the team that whooped the Chiefs early in the season.
Your eyes can watch the Bills struggle against a third-string rookie in Miami. Cincy almost hosted a playoff game in the divisional round. So in short, yes, this Bengals team is very good. But is it the best of all time? I think we'll need to wait to hand out that crown. They still have to win two more games to give that serious consideration.
What do you think? Is this the best Bengals team of all time? If not, which team do you think is the best?