Each Monday, we’ll look at 3 teams that are rising, sinking, and floating in our Football Relativity comparison. We’ll update the full comparison tomorrow.
Rise – Cincinnati Bengals – On our comparison, the difference between level 6 and level 7 is teams that could make the playoffs and teams that should make the playoffs. After winning in Baltimore 17-14 on Sunday, the Bengals have shown themselves to be more than playoff contenders. Instead, Cincy is a team we should expect to make the playoffs. Mike Zimmer’s defense is legitimate, and Cedric Benson gives the Bengals a running game they haven’t had since Corey Dillon’s heydey with the Who Dey. Stop being surprised, because the Bengals are for real.
Sink – Baltimore Ravens – Last week we included the Ravens among the league’s elite, but elite teams don’t lose home games to division rivals. The Ravens are still a very good team, but their defense doesn’t seem to be the overpowering force this year that it has been in recent seasons. Cedric Benson’s 100-yard rushing game is evidence of that. The Ravens now enter prove-it mode and must demonstrate that they’re a true championship contender and not just another playoff team. That’s a high bar that they didn’t clear on Sunday.
Float – Carolina Panthers – Credit the Panthers for getting their first win, but beating a Redskins team that is mediocre or worse doesn’t change the fact that the Panthers have big problems. The fact that Carolina had to come from behind to win adds to our skepticism. Maybe this win will be the start of something as it takes the pressure of 0-3 off, but it won’t be the start of an ascent up the relativity comparison.