Aug 28, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; A detailed view of a Cincinnati Bengals helmet on the field during warms ups prior to the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Q. What’s Black and Orange, and red all over?
A. Maybe the Cincinnati Bengals, whose string of embarrassing moments could parlay into four straight non-wins before Halloween.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the Bengals were in their bye and were one of the hottest teams in football, considered by many to be a Super Bowl frontrunner. Now, after a blowout loss to the New England Patriots and an ugly tie with the Carolina Panthers, the Bengals are in danger of sliding deep into the AFC North standings before Halloween.
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On Sunday, the Bengals will be on the road against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts, who have overcome two opening losses to reel off four straight wins. Luck has the Indy offense clicking, and that could be trouble for a Bengals’ defense that has allowed big numbers to the lesser units of the Panthers and Patriots.
The following week, Cincinnati comes home to play the red-hot Baltimore Ravens, who happen to sit in second place in the division. Not only is the Ravens usual stingy D on full display, but quarterback Joe Flacco is finding his form, and the Ravens have scored more points than all other AFC offenses except the Colts.
While the Bengals are in Indy on Sunday, Baltimore will host the Atlanta Falcons, so it’s quite possible that the Ravens will pass Cincy in the standings by the end of October.
The scary thing is, the Bengals could also be looking up at the Cleveland Browns by that point. The Browns have hit on a boring, plodding offensive scheme that has their rushing game near the top of the league rankings and their win total climbing. With games against the Jacksonville Jaguars (away) and Oakland Raiders (home) before the end of the month, it’s quite possible that the Brownies could leapfrog Cincinnati in the standings.
The Cincinnati Bengals may not have turned into pumpkins just yet, but they also don’t seem to be the chariots we imagined they were a few weeks ago.