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Joe Burrow and the Bengals are roaring back to Super Bowl contender status

2T5K5T4 Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow throws a pass against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

What if the Cincinnati Bengals are the best team in the NFL?

A few weeks ago, their season looked finished. They were facing a no-win decision when it came to how to approach Joe Burrow’s calf injury, and they had lost three of their opening four games, with the toughest part of the schedule still to come.

Since that point, Burrow has recovered and played virtually flawless football against two elite contender teams, winning both and extending Cincinnati's unbeaten stretch to four games. That streak is now tied for the second-best mark in the league.

The Bengals have a track record of being a true Super Bowl contender in recent seasons. They lost the Super Bowl against the Rams a couple of years ago and took the Chiefs — the eventual champions — down to the wire in last year’s AFC title game.

They’ve also shown that, relative to other contending teams, their best punch might be better than anybody else’s.

Since the start of 2021, they have handled Buffalo twice and were in the lead in the third game when Damar Hamlin’s cardiac event caused the game to be abandoned.

Joe Burrow Career PFF Grades
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They were 3-0 against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs before a late penalty helped Kansas City finally get one back in the AFC Championship game last year.

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