Lewis unfazed by high Power Rankings


CINCINNATI -- It's been a good week for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Not only have they been the envy of the NFL with the embattled league's biggest feel-good story of the moment, but they also have been playing good football.

The Bengals have been so good through the first two weeks of the season that they have earned a 2-0 record heading into Sunday's Week 3 tilt against the Tennessee Titans, and they have been declared one of the top teams in the league by a bevy of outlets with team rankings.

Just Tuesday, ESPN's group of writers, editors and television personalities ranked them third in the Power Rankings that followed last week's drubbing of the Falcons. Only the Broncos (No. 1) and Seahawks (No. 2), who are meeting this weekend in a Super Bowl rematch, outpaced them. It's possible that with a win Sunday, the Bengals could ease into one of the top two spots of the poll.

They actually did just that on Sports Illustrated's poll that was released mid-week.

For what is believed to be the first time in the history of Sports Illustrated's power poll, the Bengals were ranked No. 1 this week.

Asked Friday afternoon if that particular ranking or any of the other similarly high rankings meant anything to him, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis was predictably unfazed.

"I don't think it's worth anything to us, is it?" he rhetorically asked. "The key is to be No. 1 in the rankings in February -- the second week of February, not even the first week."

Of course, he was referring to winning the Super Bowl. He wants his team to be ranked first at the end of the final week of the season.

"Until now and then, it doesn't matter," Lewis said about the rankings.

In years past, he may have had to worry about his players possibly buying into the hype about their success and believing it. Lewis contends that with the veteran leaders he has in his locker room that he has no reason to be concerned about that this year.

"They realize we don't get anything for [being ranked first now]," Lewis said.