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Scully's NFL notebook: Bengals are on the rise

Profile Picture: James Scully

October 28th, 2021

Week 7 storylines included the rise of Cincinnati, which leads the AFC North after it humbled Baltimore on the road, and Kansas City, which dropped below .500 after it failed to score a touchdown in a lopsided loss to Tennessee.

Let’s examine these topics, and more, in this week’s NFL Notebook.

Cincinnati has transformed into a contender

Don’t call them the "Bungles" anymore.

Quarterback Joe Burrow has changed the culture in his second season, and 5-2 Cincinnati is going places.

Zac Taylor, who many fans had never heard of when he was named head coach in 2019, has proved his doubters wrong, and Cincinnati’s front office deserves credit for investing heavily on the defensive side through free agency.

The pass rush has become a specialty for the Bengals, and Trey Hendrickson (6.5 sacks, 34 quarterback hurries) leads the way for the fifth-ranked scoring defense.

After they visit the lowly Jets in Week 8, Cincinnati will play six of its final nine regular-season games at home.

Offensive woes plague Kansas City

Defense has become a convenient scapegoat for 3-4 Kansas City, which provides cover for Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid, but it’s time to stop making excuses.

Ranked 24th in offensive efficiency, Kansas City looked pedestrian in Week 7. Mahomes is stuck in a funk, and the Chiefs are no longer attacking opponents.

Last week, the 2018 MVP was held to fewer than 250 passing yards for the first time. He completed only 20 of his 35 passes, for 206 yards, before he was knocked out of the game. He is tied with rookie Zach Wilson for the most turnovers (11).

Defensive deficiencies didn’t stop Kansas City from Super Bowl runs the last two years, and if Reid doesn’t get the offense turned around, the Chiefs will watch the postseason from their couches.

Brady scoffs at Father Time

Tom Brady leads the league in passing yards (2,275) and touchdowns (21). The 44-year-old quarterback is dialed in for the 6-1 Buccaneers.

A prolific offense has enabled Tampa to withstand a multitude of defensive injuries, and only three of its remaining 10 opponents have a winning record.

Game of the week: Packers vs. Cardinals

Intriguing divisional matchups include Pittsburgh at Cleveland, Tennessee at Indianapolis, and Tampa Bay at New Orleans, but Green Bay at Arizona on Thursday is the must-see game in Week 8.

Fri, October 29 2021, 12:20 AM

ARI Cardinals

Moneyline

-315

Spread

-6.5

Total

O 50

GB Packers

Moneyline

+240

Spread

+6.5

Total

U 50

The NFL’s lone undefeated team, Arizona will try to break a franchise record with its eighth consecutive win to open the season.

Green Bay, which has won six straight, brings a surging defense to the desert, but the Packers will be shorthanded at wide receiver. Aaron Rogers can never be counted out, though.

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