Cincinnati Bengals (6-2, 1st)
Last week: Def. Baltimore 17-7 at home
We thought: Vegas had them +3 at home to a team they had beaten only a few weeks ago, and we took the Ravens. Despite the mangling of the Bears and an off week to prepare, things tend to even out in the AFC North.
They are: Despite the lost bet, couldn't have been happier about the outcome. And was even more delighted that drafting Ced Benson continues to turn into one of the savvier fantasy picks this year. That being said, we still don't like them next week in Pittsburgh. We do, however, love Chad Ochocinco's specs.
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2, 2nd)
Last week: Def. Denver 28-10 on the road
We thought: Count us as one who, when the Steelers were at 1-2, didn't buy into the post-Super Bowl hangover theory. That's long gone now, regardless of what happened on Monday night in Denver. Felt like a game they'd win, because dink-and-dunk doesn't get it done against Pitt (usually).
They are: Super Bowl contenders? Sure. Impressive that, for a team that supposedly couldn't run the ball, they did it pretty well on the road against a tough D. Do opposing defenses start to scheme against the Roethlisberger Jailbreak Scramble Chuck It Downfield now or do they wait until the offseason?
Baltimore Ravens (4-4, 3rd)
Last week: Lost to Cincinnati 17-7 on the road
We thought: The second half spanking of the Broncos in Week 8 sold us on the Ravens, who arguably could have / should have won all 3 games that they lost. They were gonna go into Cincy and get some revenge for the last-minute loss back in October.
They are: The record says .500, and part of us still wouldn't want to face them in a big game. But at what point do you stop excusing the losses and start realizing that maybe they're not elite? They should get back on track in a Monday Nighter in Cleveland, but we'll get our answer in subsequent weeks when they host the Colts and then the Steelers.
Cleveland Browns (1-7, 4th)
Last week: Bye
We thought: Are the Cleveland football offices more or less depressing during the bye week than in normal weeks? Can't decide, and actually, don't care at all.
They are: The next Patriots? The Mangenius seems to think so.