Like the Panthers, the Cincinnati Bengals’ 2016 campaign could be seen more as an anomaly and not so much what to expect this upcoming year.
What it did do, however, is put the Bengals into a position to seriously upgrade the offense.
Say what you want about running back Joe Mixon, but all on-field reports are pointing to the rookie being a serious offensive threat — perhaps the kind to take the pressure off quarterback Andy Dalton. That’s enough to push the Bengals up high in these NFL power rankings.
It’s going to be tough to overtake the Pittsburgh Steelers, and even the Ravens, within the division.
But at least the Bengals appear to be heading the right way.
They have before though.