Three weeks of the NFL season are in the books and as always there are teams that have started out hot and cold. One of the teams to jump out of the gates hot is the Cincinnati Bengals.
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The Bengals have been one of the most consistent teams in the NFL in the past four seasons, as they have had winning records and trips to the playoffs in each of the past four seasons. While having good regular season’s records is important, the Bengals know that they need to accomplish something in the playoffs to get the monkey off their back.
Despite being a consistent team in the regular season, the Bengals have only been able to win the AFC North once in the past four years. Winning games on the road in the playoffs is not an easy thing to do, and the Bengals would certainly like to get a home-field advantage for at least one game in the playoffs. The Bengals have only hosted one team during that span, as in 2013 when they won the division, but they were beaten by the San Diego Chargers.
Coming into this season, the AFC North had three hopeful playoff teams with the Bengals, Baltimore Ravens, and Pittsburgh Steelers. All three of these AFC North teams were in the playoffs last year, and all had hopes of repeating that in 2015.
One of those three teams that have had an awful start to the 2015 season is the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens were certainly hurt by the NFL schedule to start the season, as they were on the West Coast for the first two weeks of the season against the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders.
In the loss to the Broncos, the Ravens also lost their leader Terrell Suggs to a season-ending Achilles injury. The Ravens certainly missed Suggs against the Raiders, as their defense couldn’t stop Derek Carr at all in the loss. In Week 3, the Ravens were finally at home against the Bengals in a must-win game. The Ravens had a lead late, but the Bengals were able to capitalize on the poor Ravens’ defense to win the game 28-24.Sep 13, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (55) sits on the ground after an injury to his left lower leg in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 19-13. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Teams that start 0-3 rarely make the playoffs, as the Bengals may have delivered an early dagger to the season for the Ravens.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, on the other hand, have a 2-1 record with their only loss coming to the New England Patriots in Week 1. The Steelers might have a 2-1 record now, but their win against the St. Louis Rams did cost them their quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger had his knee go in the wrong direction on a low hit by Mark Barron of the Rams. The knee injury will keep Roethlisberger out for a number of weeks, and that could prove costly without him under center.
Michael Vick will now be the starter for the Steelers until Roethlisberger is back, and with a losing record in the past few seasons as a starter, the Steelers could be in big trouble.
With the Ravens being winless and Roethlisberger being hurt, the door is wide open for the Bengals to take the AFC North with ease in 2015.
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