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Cincinnati Bengals have chance to make move in AFC North

The Cincinnati Bengals are taking on the Detroit Lions this weekend. The other three AFC North teams all have much tougher tests.

Nobody had the Cincinnati Bengals winning the AFC North this season. Hell, most still don’t.

However, at 3-2 and traveling to take on the winless Detroit Lions this weekend, the Bengals have a chance to make things interesting as we head toward November.


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Only a game behind the Baltimore Ravens and tied with the Cleveland Browns in the AFC North, Cincinnati could gain ground this weekend. While the Bengals take on one of the league’s two winless squads, the Ravens host the Los Angeles Chargers while the Browns welcome in Kyler Murray and the unbeaten Arizona Cardinals.

For the Bengals, it’s an opportunity to pull even with Baltimore before the two play each other in Week 7. The tilt with Detroit is the start of a three-game trip, with the Lions, Ravens and New York Jets on the docket. If you’re Cincinnati, the record has to be 2-1 at worst from that grouping, before coming back to Paul Brown Stadium and seeing Cleveland in Week 9 prior to the bye week.

So how did head coach Zac Taylor’s team get here? Cincinnati started the season with a win over the Minnesota Vikings before falling to the Chicago Bears. Then, the Bengals handled the Pittsburgh Steelers before beating the Jacksonville Jaguars, only to fall against the Green Bay Packers last weekend in overtime. Now, a chance to get right.


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At first glance, the Bengals have issues defensively with a middling secondary and no significant pass rush. Andy through five games, Cincinnati is yet to allow 30 points in any game while free-agent signing Trey Hendrickson has 4.5 sacks in his new home.

Offensively, Cincinnati has seen a resurgence from quarterback Joe Burrow, who after tearing multiple knee ligaments in November has already thrown for 1,269 yards on 8.8 yards per attempt, notching 11 touchdowns. Burrow had been helped out by former LSU teammate and first-round receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who has caught 23 passes for 456 yards and five touchdowns.

If the Bengals don’t reach the playoffs but continue improving, it’s a great season. However, with the division tight and Cincinnati’s offense capable of dueling with even the best teams, there’s reason to hope in the Queen City for more than a little competitive football come December and January.

And it starts with Sunday, where a letdown in Detroit can’t be tolerated.

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