One of the six remaining undefeated NFL teams will be on the field in Cincinnati on Sunday when Seattle visits. It's not the Seahawks. Not only are the Bengals 4-0, they've been as impressive as any squad one-quarter into their schedule. They rank second in total offense, and only Atlanta and Arizona have scored more than Cincinnati's 121 points.
One of the six remaining undefeated NFL teams will be on the field in Cincinnati on Sunday when Seattle visits. It’s not the Seahawks. Not only are the Bengals 4-0, they’ve been as impressive as any squad one-quarter into their schedule. They rank second in total offense, and only Atlanta and Arizona have scored more than Cincinnati’s 121 points.
With Baltimore off to a weak start and Pittsburgh missing Ben Roethlisberger, the AFC North could be their domain.
Just don’t bring that up with coach Marvin Lewis.
”The players have done what they’ve been asked to do and that’s all we can be,” he said. ”They’ve been down these roads before, and four (wins) doesn’t get you anything and they realize that.
”So we’ve just got to keep playing. The other people, I can’t talk for. I don’t understand what people expect us to be.”
For years, they were expected to be the Bungles. That changed when Lewis came aboard in 2003. They’ve made the playoffs four straight seasons, albeit exiting each time after one game.
Seattle’s track record is a whole lot better as the Seahawks (2-2) seek a third straight Super Bowl trip. They come off a tight win against Detroit aided by a botched officiating call at the end, and they have severe pass protection issues.
”There’s a lot of ways for us here to get better obviously,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, whose team has rallied from an 0-2 start.
”And that’s really what our theme is, to continue to strive to find those ways, adjust things, and fix things so that we can be more efficient and more consistent. It hasn’t been like we like it, but we’re pleased to be getting on track, and the way the defense is playing gives us a chance every week.”
The St. Louis Rams go to unbeaten Green Bay suddenly having some offensive weapons to go with their strong defense and pass rush. Wide receiver Tavon Austin became the first player in NFL history to have punt returns of 75 yards or longer in three straight seasons and is contributing in the passing game. Top draft pick Todd Gurley ran for all but 40 of his 146 yards last week in the fourth quarter.
St. Louis will need all of that pass rush against the league’s top passer, Aaron Rodgers. His string without being picked at home has reached 486 passes and 32 touchdowns. Since James Jones returned to Green Bay after the New York Giants cut him, he has been dynamic and has six receptions of 25-plus yards.
The Atlanta Falcons have scored 137 points, second in the league to Arizona, and, in a scheduling quirk, already are 3-0 against the NFC East. They’ve reached 4-0 overall for the first time since 2012, when the team finished 13-3 and advanced to the NFC Championship game.
The visiting Washington Redskins are the league’s best overall on the ground, ranking first running it and second defending it. Albert Morris and Matt Jones are a solid combination in the backfield.
The Denver Broncos have won the past seven meetings with the Oakland Raiders, including all six with Peyton Manning at quarterback. Manning has led seven teams to a 4-0 start, easily the most in NFL history for a passer. But it’s been the Denver defense, ranked atop the league, that has been most responsible for the perfect mark. With 18 sacks, the Broncos are on pace to tie the record of 72 held by the 1984 Chicago Bears, but the Raiders have allowed only five sacks.
Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski will set a franchise record with his 241st career game.
Week 5 began on Thursday with Indianapolis’ 27-20 victory in Houston. Filling in for the injured Andrew Luck, 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck threw two touchdown passes to former Texans star Andre Johnson. The Colts extended their AFC South winning streak to an NFL-record 16 games. Houston is 1-4.