Under the loss columns of six teams in the NFL - one from each conference - is a red-colored tally that, so far, is meaningless with 10 weeks left to play. Five NFL.com analysts debated which of the one-loss teams were the most tender, and unsurprisingly, the Cincinnati Bengals were speared for their tenuous tendencies. That's a lot of tens.
Thanks to Mike Nugent, the Bengals have that and-1 attached to the back end of their record, and will look like they've been fouled every time they drove to the basket of hopeless dreams.
You may click here to read the rest of the arguments, but I quoted some of my favorites.
Said Adam Schein:
Andy Dalton and Marvin Lewis? No thanks
Andy Dalton is the Bengals' quarterback. Marvin Lewis is the head coach. It's been proven consistently that you cannot count on this tandem, regardless of record, feel or overall talent. That Sunday night debacle a few weeks back, when the previously undefeated Bengals were trounced by a Patriots team that entered the game with its season on the brink, was a reminder of this. As was that tie with Carolina. (Cincy had ample opportunities to win, even before Mike Nugent's horrendous missed field goal.) Or I can simply reference the three straight first-round playoff exits.
I do not trust Cincy. I will not trust Cincy.
Gregg Rosenthal's take:
Don't get fooled again by an annually erratic NFL outfit
The Bengals are the least convincing, because we've seen this show before. They can look like world-beaters for three weeks, then randomly fall off a cliff. Andy Dalton still can't hit throws outside the numbers and the defense has given up 80 points over the past two weeks. Cincy couldn't get pressure on Cam Newton at home and was steamrolled on the ground in New England.
Coordinator Hue Jackson has definitely improved the offense overall, but Baltimore looks like the more complete AFC North team. (With the better quarterback.)
Analysts Judy Battista and Dave Dameshek agreed with their cohorts.
Charley Casserly's love for the Redskins got the best of him, saying that given DeMarco Murray's injury history, Dallas (5-1), could be due for regression. We shall see.