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The perceived notion is that the Cincinnati Bengals are in a better position, roster-wise, going into the 2022 season than they were coming out of the 2021 season when they reached the Super Bowl.
However, one particular analytic chart from ESPN isn’t so sure the team is that far ahead of the pack.
ESPN revealed their Football Power Index rankings, which include a rating of how much better, in terms of points, a team would be than an average team on a neutral field. The No. 1 team on that list? Not too surprisingly, the Buffalo Bills, at +9.4.
The Bengals? Right smack in the middle at No. 16 with a +1.1 rating, slightly ahead of the Tennessee Titans (+0.9) and more than a full point behind the New England Patriots (+2.2).
2022 Football Power Index ratings and rankings!
The rating itself indicates approximately how much better or worse — in points — that team is predicted to be, relative to an average NFL team on a neutral field.
It is a predictive rating. pic.twitter.com/9oDRKm8nKR
— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) May 17, 2022
This may also rattle some feathers: the Bengals are the highest or even second-highest ranked team in the AFC North on this list. The highest is the Cleveland Browns at No. 10 (+3.5) with the Baltimore Ravens right behind them at No. 11 (+3.3). The Pittsburgh Steelers come in tied with the Carolina Panthers at No. 25, with a -7.5 rating.
This is very interesting. There aren’t too many people that would look at the Bengals right now and basically call them average. But that’s where they stand with this list. Especially when you see this team ranked behind a team like the Minnesota Vikings (No. 13, +3.2), who feel like the definition of being in purgatory.
The Bengals will just have to continue to prove they belong in the upper echelon of the NFL. Let the fighting commence.