Bengals bye week blues: AFC North review


,The Cincinnati Bengals get to enjoy their bye week with the ambiguity of coming away from London with a tie.  The Bengals went into overtime in Wembley Stadium Sunday afternoon tied 27-27 against the Redskins.  In the 15 minutes of overtime neither team was able to score thanks in part to a 34-yard missed field goal by Washington’s kicker Dustin Hopkins. This was the first time NFL teams played to a tie in London which probably didn’t dumbfound the soccer loving British fans like it did many Americans.


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All of that aside, a tie is better than a loss and the Bengals are now 3-4-1 and in second place in the AFC North.  The Bengals are getting healthy and have not had nearly has many injuries to key players has their division rivals.  Tyler Eifert has returned and had a great game against the Redskins.  I believe that the Bengals are in a good place and can still compete for the division title.

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are in first place in the division with a record of 4-3.  The Steelers however seem far from division champs right now. The Steelers are coming off of the bye after a two game losing streak.  Earlier in the season, the Steelers were destroyed by the Philadelphia Eagles 34-3. The team responded the next week handling the Chiefs 43-14.  The Steelers were dismantled by the Miami Dolphins and then lost to the Patriots in Foxboro without their quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.  Roethlisberger is expected to play against the Ravens on Sunday in Baltimore and it will be interesting to see what Steelers team shows up.

The Baltimore Ravens have been about as inconsistent as the Steelers.  The Ravens are 3-4 and will look to bounce back against the Steelers after their bye week.  Baltimore won their first three games against the Bills, Browns and the Jaguars and have since dropped their last four.  The Ravens defense is the usual Ravens defense ranking in the top five in team defensive categories but 24th in all offensive categories.  I expect to see a good division game on Sunday and maybe get a better read on how good this Ravens team is. The Bengals will face this team twice the rest of this season.

The Cleveland Browns are sitting at the bottom of the division with a 0-8 record.  Despite their record the Browns have played well and been close in about every game they have played.  They have a good running game averaging  114 yards per game putting them in the 10th spot in the league.  The Browns have had six starting quarterbacks and with Terrelle Pryor, seven players taking snaps.  The Browns face the Cowboys next then the Ravens and host the Steelers.  It would be nice if this team could steal a win from the Ravens or the Steelers or both.

The Bengals will get some rest on their bye and hopefully then come out energized and focused for the rest of the season. Next, they will travel to New York to play the Giants on Monday Night Football November 14th.



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