Originally written on Three-Way Chili  |  Last updated 11/13/14
Hey, it's one of those times I'm thrilled to be wrong.I thought the Bengals were among the "walking dead" of NFL teams this year when they had a 3-5 record. But suddenly they've won three straight -- all in blowout fashion -- and are tied with the Steelers at 6-5 and for the final playoff spot in the AFC (the Steelers currently own the tiebreaker due to their win over the Bengals; the teams will play again this season in Pittsburgh). Andy Dalton and AJ Green are putting up incredible numbers ... Jermaine Gresham too. The offensive line has turned out to be solid, despite losing two starters in center Kyle Cook and left guard Travelle Wharton before the season even started. Last year's fourth-round pick, Clint Boling, has been good as Wharton's replacement. And free-agent signing Jeff Faine as at least held the fort down at the ever-important center position. Andrew Whitworth is one of the best left tackles in the AFC, first-round pick Kevin Zeitler will be on every 2012 All-Rookie Team and right tackle Andre Smith is living up to his potential.The emergence of Mohamad Sanu at wide receiver is also exciting for any Bengal fan.Defensively, Cincinnati has one of the best lines in the league, led by tackle Geno Atkins and end Michael Johnson. The former has nine sacks and the latter has eight. That's an impressive inside-out combination. And the Bengals have several other good players up front such as DT Domata Peko and DE Carlos Dunlap. Linebacker is being held together by a thread and safety is still a huge issue (if Taylor Mays is getting playing time at safety, it's a problem), but D-coordinator Mike Zimmer always finds a way to get the job done.This will be a huge game at San Diego this Sunday. The Chargers (4-7) are still smarting from giving away a game against the Ravens last year and it will be interesting to see how they respond. They are usually tough to beat at home, but maybe the Bengals are getting them at the right time. If the Bengals win and go 7-5, I fully expect them to eventually sneak in the playoffs as a wildcard. If they lose and fall to 6-6, it's going to be tough. I think they need to go at least 9-7 to get in.The good news is they still have games left against Dallas and at Philadelphia. Not only are both of those teams struggling, especially the Eagles, but the Bengals have dominated the NFC East so far this year, winning at Washington and blowing out the defending Super Bowl champion Giants in Cincinnati.I've been hard on Marvin Lewis, but credit goes out to him for having the Bengals in a legitimate position to make the playoffs for the second consecutive year.  
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Athletics trade Derek Norris to Padres

Dodgers not happy with Padres GM over Matt Kemp trade

Mario Balotelli banned match for offensive Instagram post

Marc Trestman: Benching Jay Cutler could revive QB's career

Rob Gronkowski jokes about Tom Brady saying he's grown up

Rajon Rondo traded to Mavs for three players, picks

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Washington Post has perfect description for Titans-Jaguars

Wilbon angry at DC for not supporting Wizards

Urban Meyer says Tim Tebow still wants to play in the NFL

Keenan Lewis: Saints preparing 'funeral' for Falcons

Chris Christie defends being a Cowboys fan

Celtics co-owner: 2024 Olympics would be 'boon for Beantown'

Extremely rare set of Air Jordan 7s selling for $45,000

Five reasons why Alabama will win College Football Playoff

Hugh Freeze proud of Ole Miss’ record 2.57 team GPA

Youngstown St. addresses Bo Pelini's profanity-laced rant

It's been almost 40 years since NFL's last untelevised game

The NHL has finally fined a player for diving

Ben Roethlisberger: Le’Veon Bell is having an MVP season

Jim Harbaugh comments on the reported offer from Michigan

Michael Jordan's college Converse shoes sell for $33,387

Week 16 NFL game watchability rankings

Game of the week: Indianapolis Colts vs. Dallas Cowboys

The Chicago Bears are the Monstrosity of the Midway

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Gronk jokes about Brady compliment

In Matt Kemp, did the Dodgers find a pigeon in Padres?

Why the Saints are legit playoff threat

Impact of U.S.-Cuba relations on MLB

Andrew Hawkins, other athletes gain support for social statement attire

NBA's most underrated players

Michael Vick nearly debt-free

Dolphins CB rips Brady's career plans

Biggest winners of the MLB offseason

Brian Billick owns Browns fan

Pelini has profane words for Nebraska AD

When bowl results mean more for one school than another

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.