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Bengals in the NFL Power Rankings: Week 3 Roundup

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By: Nathan Beighle

Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Bengals are free-falling down the rankings.

The Cincinnati Bengals have been here before, but the difference between this season and last could be the health of Joe Burrow.

The star quarterback suffered a calf strain in training camp and hasn’t quite looked the same since. The Bengals lost 24-3 to the Browns in Cleveland to open the season. They then lost to the Ravens in their home opener 27-24.

The Bengals, like last season, are 0-2 and face an uphill battle. Cincinnati has been to two straight AFC Championship games, so there shouldn’t be too much concern. But, there’s no denying tensions are high in the Queen City.

Let’s dive into where national media has Cincinnati after a brutal Week 2 loss.

USA Today – No. 17 – Down from No. 9

Legitimate reasons for concern by Sunday night, Cincinnati’s offense ranked last in the league and QB Joe Burrow’s calf barking anew.

CBS Sports – No. 21 – Down from No. 13

At 0-2, they have big problems. It doesn’t help that Joe Burrow aggravated his injured calf. Can they respond from 0-2 like they did a year ago?

ESPN – No. 18 – Down from No. 13

Higgins did not receive a long-term deal this offseason, and one seems to be unlikely. Cincinnati could be looking at giving Higgins a one-year franchise tag for 2024 and exploring its options. The tag is projected at $23 million according to The Bengals could pay that amount to keep Higgins for one more year or see if they can find a team willing to trade for a top receiver. Higgins has amassed more than 3,000 receiving yards in his first three seasons combined. — Ben Baby

NFL – No. 12 – Down from No. 11

You’ll be reminded multiple times this week that last year’s Bengals started 0-2, too, and it’s fair to look back. Heck, the 2021 team was 1-1 to start, with an overtime win over a so-so Vikings team and still made the Super Bowl. However, my panic meter is not insanely low because there are some unpleasant realities this team absolutely must address. The two supposed bedrocks entering the season were supposed to be the passing game and the front seven on defense. Both have severely underachieved. Joe Burrow’s calf injury gives the offense some cover, but what is the defense’s excuse? Failing to get off the field on several third-and-short plays will be the lasting memory of Sunday’s loss to the Ravens.

Pro Football Talk – No. 21 – Down from No. 12

Yes, they know how to overcome slow starts. The quarterback’s nagging calf injury changes things.

Yahoo! Sports – No. 12 – Down from No. 6

Of all the things we saw in Week 2, the inability of the Bengals to get much offense going again might have been the most surprising. Seeing Joe Burrow limping at the end of the game wasn’t a good sign either. The Bengals are very talented and they have started slow before, but this seems dire.

Sporting News – No. 19 – Down from No. 13

The Bengals have proved how dependent they are on a healthy Joe Burrow for their offense to click and set up their defense to be complementary effective. It’s admirable he has tried to gut it out and it will be hard to keep him out of the lineup in the Super Bowl rematch vs. the Rams next Monday night, but now the pressure is on to come through at 0-2.

Originally posted on Cincy Jungle – All Posts

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