For a team that has made the playoffs three years in a row and is currently sitting on top of the AFC North at 9-4-1, the Cincinnati Bengals do not seem to get much respect as a Super Bowl contender. However, after a 30-0 blowout of the Cleveland Browns, the Bengals are starting to receive a little more recognition around the league.

The Bengals don’t have the most reliable offense in the NFL, but they do have some of the best skill players around. The running back duo of Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill is arguably one of the best in the NFL. The duo combined for 227 yards and two touchdowns in Cleveland, and Bernard added even more as a receiver coming out the back field. The Bengals also have one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, A.J. Green, who is good for almost 100 yards and a touchdown or two a game.

The Bengals defense is not as strong as it has been in the past; but the Bengals don’t win based on their defense, rather they are dependent on how well quarterback Andy Dalton is playing on any given Sunday. Dalton is very inconsistent, and that is the one major flaw for the Bengals. Green is a serious determinant of Dalton’s play. Green was pretty much shut out by Joe Haden of the Browns, and as a results Dalton finished with only 117 yards and an interception despite the blowout victory.

The Bengals are pretty much guaranteed a playoff appearance this season; and if they can make it out of the first road for the first time under Dalton, they will have too been taken seriously. The Bengals face the Denver Broncos Monday Night, and this game could certainly be a preview of a playoff game soon to come.