Skip to main content

Bengals higher than expected in latest power rankings

The Bengals were higher than expected in Peter King's latest power rankings

The Bengals are underdogs in 14 of their 16 games this season. They're only favored in one game — a home matchup against the Jaguars in Week 4. 

Their home game against the Giants in Week 12 is a pick'em.

Expectations are relatively low for Cincinnati, even thought their roster looks much different than it did at the end of the 2019 season. 

They've complete remade one of the NFL's worst defenses. Joe Burrow replaced Andy Dalton at quarterback and they added key pieces like Xavier S'ua-Filo in free agency. 

One national sportswriter is higher on the Bengals than the oddsmakers. They're 27th in Peter King's latest power rankings. 

Scroll to Continue

Read More

"When the Bengals released Andy Dalton in late April, it was one of the great shows of confidence in a draft choice in recent years," King wrote in his weekly column. "The pandemic could force teams into scramble mode before the season; will training camp exist in any sort of normal way, and regardless, will Burrow be able to throw to any of his receivers before August? I’m probably too smitten with Burrow—coming off his 60-touchdown season last fall (which by the way was not an Arena League season) at LSU—but a confident and strong-willed quarterback can do a lot for a franchise. Burrow needs to form early bonds with A.J. Green, the underrated Tyler Boyd and rookie Tee Higgins (6-4, 6-1 and 6-4), and the burner John Ross, for whom 2020 is Last Chance Saloon; the former ninth pick in the draft will be a free agent after the season. But at least Burrow should get Ross’ best. That is potentially a heck of a receiver group if Green, who has missed 6, 0, 7, and 16 games the last four seasons, can stay on the field for any length of time.

"The Bengals needed to get much better on defense and did okay in free agency, adding a rock in the middle of the line, tackle D.J. Reader, play-making safety Vonn Bell and Vikings corners Trae Waynes and Mackenzie Alexander—though, per PFF, Waynes and Alexander surrendered 71 percent completions combined last year. So many ifs in Cincinnati, and a single player can’t fix it all. But Burrow’s will should push the Cincinnati culture north."

King isn't the only one that believes Burrow is the perfect person to change the Bengals' fortunes. 

His intangibles — leadership, presence and demeanor — are just as vital to their success as his physical ability. 

Carson Palmer had all of the physical tools anyone could hope for, but he wasn't the leader that Burrow is. Those intangibles may be the difference between the Bengals being good again and the organization getting over the hump to become a real contender.