Bengals starting to gain national respect after 2-0 start The Bengals kicked off Week 2 by defeating the Ravens and advancing to 2-0. This accomplishment only got better when the Browns and Steelers both lost on Sunday and fell to both boasting the record of 0-1-1. Now Cincinnati is sitting atop the division Trey Hopkins Jersey , and they are starting to get some attention.In fact, Dan Graziano of ESPN wrote an article examining some overreactions to Week 2 and whether or not they are overreactions or not. In this article, Graziano declared it wasn’t an overreaction that the Bengals are the favorites to win the AFC North.Graziano makes plenty of realistic points. The Bengals next two games could really define their season, and they will have to do it without Joe Mixon for, at the very least, one of those games. Mixon has been a vital piece for Cincinnati this season, but luckily the Bengals have Giovani Bernard to fall back on. He is a veteran running back who has shouldered the load in absence of Mixon and even Jeremy Hill back in the day when needed. Bernard hasn’t been very productive this season so far, but it is hard to imagine that Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor won’t be able to add a few more plays to get Bernard out in space during an extended break between games. Not to mention, Cincinnati also has Tra Carson who can help with a few snaps per game. He has always been productive during the preseason Cordy Glenn Jersey , and now he will have a chance to show what he’s got in an actual game.As far as the offensive line goes, Cincinnati has some depth, but it really matters who gets injured, and who the team decides to replace them. Cordy Glenn at left tackle and Clint Boling at left guard are probably the most crucial players. An injury to either of those guys could hurt the team’s overall production pretty badly. Rookie Billy Price at center is also important, but not to the same extent. That is understandable though considering he is still a rookie getting use to the NFL game, where as the other two are established pros. As far as the right side goes, it is hard to imagine it getting too much worse. Alex Redmond at right guard and Bobby Hart at right tackle improved in Week 2, but it was easy to improve after a bad start in Week 1. Finally, we come to Graziano’s biggest point Dre Kirkpatrick Jersey , which is that the Steelers could easily implode after their 0-1-1 start. It feels like a different team out there. They just got steam rolled by the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes’ six touchdown passes. Not to mention who knows when Le’Veon Bell will return, if he does at all. How Pittsburgh bounces back could easily determine if the Bengals run away with the division. Of course these two teams will meet in Week 6. Cincinnati will hopefully have Mixon and Vontaze Burfict back on the field for that game. Until then the Bengals will play the Panthers, Falcons and Dolphins, which sounds like a good run of games to show whether this team is for real or not. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh will suit up against the Bucs, Ravens and Falcons before heading into Cincinnati for a showdown in the jungle.It is great to see the national media actually taking the Bengals’ side for once. It has been a long time since Cincinnati was viewed as the darling of the AFC North, and we can only hope the Bengals keep rolling and gaining even more respect. The Bengals stuck with linebacker Vontaze Burfict through all his troubles, including a hit to Antonio Brown’s head that led to a playoff loss. They finally released him on Monday after a season of below-average performance.During seven seasons with Cincinnati, Burfict was repeatedly suspended by the NFL for egregious hits and violating its policy on performance-enhancers. He was fined regularly for hits that crossed the line http://www.thebengalslockerroom.com/authentic-c.j.-uzomah-jersey , most notably the one to Brown’s head that helped the Steelers rally for an 18-16 playoff win in the 2015 season.Through it all, the Bengals stood solidly behind the linebacker and gave him contract extensions. His significant fall-off in performance last season led them to finally cut ties.“As we continue to build our roster for the 2019 season, we felt it best to give both the team and Vontaze a fresh start,” new Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “Vontaze has been a good player here — the team appreciates that, and I know a lot of fans appreciate that — but our focus is on the future.”Burfict, 28, was suspended for the first four games last season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancers, his third straight season with a suspension. A hip injury and concussions limited him to seven games with only 33 tackles, no sacks and no interceptions Womens Kevin Huber Jersey , by far the worst performance of his career.Owner Mike Brown and former coach Marvin Lewis had defended Burfict through all his misdeeds, while he still made an impact on the field. Lewis was fired after a 6-10 finish last season, the Bengals’ third straight losing season, and now Burfict is gone, too.Nobody was willing to draft him out of Arizona State, where he repeatedly drew personal foul penalties. Burfict wrote a letter to NFL teams, and the Bengals — known for giving troubled players extra chances — brought him aboard for the 2012 season.He was their best defensive player and one of the league’s most controversial players, often in the middle of scrums and shoving matches.In 2015, he missed the first six games while recovering from knee surgery and Kevin Huber Jersey White , in his return, led the Bengals to a 16-10 win in Pittsburgh. His tackle on Le’Veon Bell resulted in the running back tearing a knee ligament, adding fuel to the rivalry.During their first-round playoff game at Paul Brown Stadium, Burfict’s hit on Brown moved the Steelers in range for the winning field goal in the final seconds. Cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones also got a 15-yard penalty after the play, making it an easy kick.The NFL suspended Burfict for the first three games in 2016 as a result of his numerous egregious hits, including the one on Brown. The Bengals defended him and stuck with him.Burfict was suspended again for the first three games in 2017 for an egregious hit during a preseason game. He got a three-year contract extension during the suspension, a sign of the Bengals’ attachment to him.During his career in Cincinnati, Burfict had 8½ sacks and five interceptions. He made the Pro Bowl in 2013.