Originally posted on Three-Way Chili  |  Last updated 11/29/12
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.  
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Gostkowski is best kicker in NFL, according to peers

DeMarco Murray: Running more plays will mean more chances

Harrison Barnes unreasonably unhappy with Warriors offer

Jerry Jones defends Greg Hardy over controversial comments

Witten, Gronkowski engage in mutual admiration society

Thabo Sefolosha not guilty of nightclub incident charges


Tony Parker hopes to play 20 seasons with San Antonio Spurs

Pagano 'supremely confident' about chances vs. Pats

Nick Saban to Alabama fans: 'Don't have an arrogant attitude'

Kobe on 93rd ranking: ‘Don’t ask me about silly stuff like that’

Boomer Esiason: 49ers have ‘ruined’ Colin Kaepernick

Adrian Beltre ruled out for Game 2 of ALDS with back injury

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.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Get to know the four NL playoff teams

Are the Astros the new Royals?

‘Macarena’ used at practice to ready Rams defense for Rodgers

Harbaugh had troubled UM center move in with grandma

Blue Jays surprise nine-year-old fan who lost father to cancer

Name every QB to play in the NFL at the age of 40

Week 5 NFL power rankings

Vin Scully to miss the entire postseason

Putin celebrates birthday by scoring seven goals in hockey game

"Friday Night Lights" writer calls Chip Kelly a fraud

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker