Bengals climb to No. 8 in ESPN Power Rankings


CINCINNATI -- Fresh off their 37-28 win over the Denver Broncos on Monday night, the Cincinnati Bengals climbed three spots in the latest release of ESPN's NFL Power Rankings that were unveiled Tuesday afternoon.

Up from 11th last week, the Bengals settled at eighth.

The Broncos fell from third to fifth.

This is the first time Cincinnati has been in the top 10 since Week 14, when it was right at 10th. This also is the first time the Bengals have held a single-digit ranking since Week 6 when they were fifth following a Sunday night loss at New England. The week before that, they were at their peak position, second.

While still holding a half-game lead on the AFC North entering this Sunday's regular-season finales, the Bengals are actually ranked a spot below one of their division rivals. The Pittsburgh Steelers were ranked seventh by the more than 80-person voting panel that includes NFL Nation reporters like myself. It would appear some voters were taking into account the Steelers' win three weeks ago in Cincinnati, as well as the fact the two teams meet in Pittsburgh this weekend.

When the Bengals and Steelers play at 8:30 p.m. ET Sunday, they will be determining the AFC North champion. Both teams earned playoff berths this weekend.