bengals latest win reminds shouldnt forgotten

#Bengals #win #reminds #shouldnt #forgotten #AFC

The Cincinnati Bengals don’t have the best record in the AFC or a former MVP. What they do have is the longest winning streak in the conference and are playing their best football at the right time. In a stacked AFC, that could lead to them rising above the rest.

Cincinnati (10-4) completed a 17-point road victory against Tampa Bay (6-8) on Sunday. The 34-23 win puts the Bengals a game ahead of Baltimore (9-5) in the AFC North and a game back of Buffalo (11-3) for the best record in the conference.

The Bengals defeated former MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs 27-24 in Week 13 and have won three straight in the series, including last postseason’s AFC Championship Game.

After winning the conference a season ago — and by playing its best football at the most important time of the year — there’s little evidence Cincinnati isn’t the best team in the conference.

The team is averaging 30.5 points and allowing 20.6 points during its six-game winning streak. Per Football Outsiders, from Week 9 to Week 14 when the Bengals were 5-0, they ranked second in the site’s Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system, trailing only the 49ers.

QB Joe Burrow continues to show up big in key situations. He threw an interception on the opening drive against Tampa Bay but turned things around in the second half. Burrow finished 27-of-39 for 200 yards with four touchdowns and an interception.

He’s led the Bengals to consecutive 10-win seasons for the first time since the franchise did so four seasons in a row from 2012-15. His 23 wins (including postseason) over the past two years are four more than the team had from 2017-20.

Cincinnati has a shot in a couple of weeks of proving it’s still the king of the AFC. After a Christmas Eve game at New England, the Bengals host the biggest Monday night game of the year when Buffalo comes to town.

That game could determine who gets the first-round bye and home-field advantage in the playoffs. If Cincinnati’s six-game winning streak is any indication, we already know the answer.

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