The "Power Core" Pre-Season Power Rankings #18

What's an off-season like without some bungling Bengals. Michael Westbrook? Michael freakin Westbrook? Are you kidding me? No more Darney Scott? Do they just want to hand the Steelers the AFC North? Scott was a Steeler-killer for crying out loud! It's not that easy and this team won't be a "gimmie" any longer, but they'll make just enough mistakes to miss the playoffs...again.

The "Power Core" Pre-Season Power Rankings #18

These guys never fail to live up to expectations. You knew that they would do something completely stupid. You knew that a very good off-season would be sobered by poor front office decisions. There are some things that should never happen: Coke 2, Jurassic Park 3, American Idol, Anna Nicole Smith and that 80-year-old guy…but picking up Michael Westbrook may have been the clincher. Why did they do it, you ask? Simple: because they're the Bengals.

#18 Cincinnati Bengals (6 - 10) last in AFC Central

Cincinnati has a real shot at the playoffs this year and could be the surprise contender from the AFC. They have to have a lot go right to get to that level, mainly finding a quarterback. But, the Bengal fans finally have a glimmer of hope that for once a season without Boomer can be a season to remember.

The Good: Corey Dillon is the best runner in the AFC. If he played for even a marginally successful franchise, he might be considered one of the best ever. He'll get his yards barring injury and he'll score his touchdowns. If the Bengals can woo Sam Adams, then their already tough defense will get just a bit tougher. Gus Frerotte is a veteran quarterback with potential, but remember he has a history getting intimate with walls. Takeo Spikes and Brian Simmons (who doesn't have his contract extension that he wants) lead a fighting group of defenders that should be easily finish as one of the top 10 defenses.

The Bad: Without a proven quarterback, this team doesn't have a prayer at making the playoffs. Darnay Scott is gone and the Michael Westbrook is in. Now, I know that some of this has to do with the salary cap, but Westbrook will never be a locker room buddy.  Peter Warrick too has been somewhat of a disappointment, but then again he never had a quarterback to throw him the ball. Herein lies the biggest problem, Kitna or Frerotte, Frerotte or Kitna. It's like trying to pick between Cheez Whiz and Velvetta. I think Frerotte will become the unanimous starter, but hey what's he done lately?

The Ugly: It's pretty sad when an organization with so much young talent, still has such a bad rap that Drew Bledsoe would rather play for the Buffalo.

Synopsis: Some outlets have the Bengals being the surprise team out of the AFC, but without a consistent quarterback this team is going nowhere. They'll have a .500 season at best.

Corrections: I would like to thank Stupidguy and XX2 for pointing out my error that the Steelers passed up on David Boston and took Troy Edwards instead. As they correctly stated, Boston was picked by Arizona at #8 and Edwards came 5 spots later at #13. So the Steelers never overlooked Boston. Thanks Guys!

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