1. Cincinnati Bengals
While we discussed the Super Bowl hangover with the Rams, the Bengals have had a much rougher go of it in the early going. After early turnovers and missed kicks doomed Cincinnati in Week 1, the Bengals wasted a potential get-right game against Cooper Rush and the Dallas Cowboys in a 20-17 loss.
The big issue for Cincinnati has been its continual poor play on the offensive line, which has allowed Joe Burrow to get hit early and often over the first two weeks of the season. This development is alarming since the Bengals invested significant resources into their line during the offseason but have yet to see any payoff from those investments.
Now 0-2, the Bengals hit the road again as five-point favorites against the New York Jets, who pulled off an epic comeback of their own to stun the Cleveland Browns in Week 2. The Jets have the kind of pass rushers who can make Burrow’s life miserable, including former Bengal Carl Lawson, who will be motivated to have a big day against his former employer.
MetLife Stadium also hasn’t been a friendly environment for these Bengals, who infamously lost the Mike White game to the Jets in New Jersey last season. Cincinnati will need to step up its level of play in a big way if they hope to avoid an 0-3 start, which would put their hopes of making another deep playoff run in significant jeopardy.