By Conrad Clowers

Herald Sports Writer

          The tide is starting to turn. For so long, watching a Bengal game was a hair pulling, stress giving, frustrating experience. Football is a form of entertainment. It’s a want. Not a need. Many people gave up on the Bengals and have formed alliance with other NFL team or simply found other ways to entertain themselves on Sundays. Others who have invested time and emotions feel the investment is starting to pay dividends.

          Cincinnati is starting to turn heads in the NFL community. The team was picked by nearly all major outlets to come in last place in the AFC North division. Well, they still could. But right now the team has a chance to take over first place. Yes, you read that correctly. FIRST PLACE in the division this coming week. Zac Taylor’s Bengals are currently in second place with a 4-2 record behind the Baltimore Ravens.

          This past week Cincinnati had a rare domination of a game. The team went up to Detroit and smacked around the Lions, winning 34-11.  U name it, Cincy dominated in that category.  The game was never in doubt as Joe Burrow did his typical consistent passing completing 19 of 29 passes for 271 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Bengal defense is gaining more and more notice each week as the team held Detroit to a measly 36 yards rushing.  The one drawback is the Lions are not exactly formidable foes. Detroit remains the only winless team in the entire NFL. Yea, it may have only been Detroit, but it was enjoyable again. It was enjoyable to watch the other team for once struggle, make mistakes, and look like the inferior team.

          The stellar play in 2021 and win over the Detroit Lions makes this weekend’s game against the Baltimore Ravens that much more important. Baltimore is leading the division with a 5-1 record and believed by some to be the most dangerous team in the NFL. The early season clash of the division’s top team makes this the biggest game Cincinnati has faced in years.  Right off the bat, fans will find out if Cincinnati is a legitimate contender this season or a team that has taken advantage of an easy schedule.

      Historically, Cincinnati has given Baltimore trouble. Baltimore showcases one of the most if not the most dynamic players in the NFL, with quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jackson won the NFL MVP just two seasons ago.

      His matchup with Bengals Joe Burrow began last season and will be showcased for likely the next decade. Wins plus dynamic players and real chances to win many games is something Bengal fans have longed for so long. Cincinnati had their first sellout last home game against Green Bay in years. As long as Bengal management continues showcasing competitive teams, fans will show interest while Bengal mania starts to wake up after a 5-year hiatus. It’s about time the jungle became a dangerous place again.

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