There's no way of getting around it: The Bengals suffered a heart-breaking loss on week one. Statistics indicate that Cincinnati should have run away with the game, but three fumbles ultimately cost them the win.
Though they are coming away empty-handed after a strong performance in Seattle, there is reason for hope.
The Steelers and Bengals (the two teams projected by most NFL experts to be the best in the AFC North this year) both lost in blowout fashion. But the biggest reason for hope comes with what we witnessed this past Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
The Bengals were simply impressive in their first NFL action of 2019, as they easily surpassed expectations in week one. Major media outlets are taking notice.
Sports Illustrated has a panel of NFL experts who comprise a list of updated power rankings each week. Though the Bengals lost their first game, they are beginning to climb the charts in the rankings.
According to the panel of ten experts, Cincinnati jumped up five spots after week one. They moved from the 29th ranked team up to the 24th - leapfrogging teams like the New York Jets, the Denver Broncos, and the Detroit Lions.
It's hard to take too much away from the first game of the season, but the Bengals certainly surprised a lot of people. With the Steelers and Browns getting off to such rough starts, maybe the AFC North could be up for grabs after all.