The Cincinnati Bengals have been one of the more surprising contenders to emerge through the first 12 weeks of the regular season. At 7-4, the AFC North club finds itself right in the mix headed into the final stretch.
Despite their early season success, the Bengals have yet to completely win over CBS analyst Bill Cowher. The former NFL head coach has been impressed with Cincinnati’s roster from top-to-bottom, but still doesn’t think that the team has validated itself by stringing multiple wins together.
“When you look at the Cincinnati Bengals, there’s no holes,” Cowher said on CBS Sunday. “We talked about their offense, we talked about their defense. Evan McPherson, their field goal kicker, is 7-of-8 from 50+ yards. He can match up right now with Justin Tucker, who’s also in the [Bengals] division.
“The things they have to do now is validate this record. Validate everything we’re saying. They’ve won two games in a row three times. They’re on a two-game winning streak right now. They have to be able to win consecutive games. A 3-game winning streak would show me something. The last time they won 3 consecutive games was 2015, which happens to be the last time they went to the playoffs.”
"When you look at the @Bengals, there's no holes… A 3-game winning streak would show me something. The last time they won 3 consecutive games was 2015, which happens to be the last time they went to the playoffs." – @CowherCBS pic.twitter.com/h1RrtWMjbv
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) December 5, 2021
The Bengals have a tough stretch of games coming up, starting with the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. From there, Cincinnati will take on the 49ers, the Broncos, the Ravens, the Chiefs and the Browns to close out the year.
Given the gap between the upper echelon of teams in the AFC and those just looking to make the playoffs, the Bengals should feel good about locking up a spot in the postseason. However, if Cincinnati wants to establish itself as a legitimate contender, it will need to prove it on the field against some difficult opponents over the next few weeks.
The Bengals starts that pursuit on Sunday against the Chargers.