3. Cincinnati Bengals (5-3)
After a disappointing 1-3 start, the Cincinnati Bengals have come to life. Winners of four straight games, the Bengals are a direct reflection of their quarterback, Joe Burrow. That is not great news for the rest of the AFC North.
Burrow, who was hobbled throughout training camp and into the first month of the regular season with a calf injury, is back to playing like the tip of the spear quarterback that he is. Through the Bengals rough 1-3 start, Burrow was completing just 58% of his passes with only two touchdown throws and two interceptions. However, during the Bengals four-game winning streak, Burrow is completing 76% of his throws and has a 10 to two touchdown to interception ratio.
The Bengals will have the opportunity to separate themselves from the pack in their next four games. All four contests are against AFC opponents, including the Ravens and the Steelers sandwiched by the surging Houston Texans and the AFC South leading Jacksonville Jaguars. Due to their first place AFC North finish in 2022, the Bengals have the toughest schedule remaining in the North.
It's hard to discount the Bengals ability to keep their hot streak going. After all, we are talking about the back to back AFC North champions with back to back AFC Conference championship appearances and a Super Bowl appearance. And they also have Joe Burrow.