Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker
CINCINNATI -- The Bengals enter the bye week in style coming off their most complete performance in years in a 45-10 blowout of the Chicago Bears.
But the team is just as excited for the upcoming time off as they are for the victory.
"I think it’s a great time for a bye," said Bengals tailback Cedric Benson, who leads the NFL in rushing with 720 yards. "You always want to get your bye late, going into November. I think we have had a lot of emotional games."
Benson is correct. Perhaps no NFL team had a more interesting slate of games to start the season than Cincinnati (5-2).
It began with a miraculous tip in the waning seconds that led to a defeat to the Denver Broncos. Then the Bengals had to recover with four straight wins, including three against the AFC North, that came down to the last possession. The past two weeks the Bengals were beat soundly by the Houston Texans before pounding the Bears.
Cincinnati is tied for first place in the AFC North and currently owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2), who are also on a bye. On Nov. 8 the Bengals have a huge division matchup against the Baltimore Ravens (3-3).
"We need a chance to look at ourselves and improve in some areas, and to come out of this thing focused," Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said of the time off. "They guys know that we’re going to work. The time is now. November is when teams go one way or the other, and we want to make sure we’re going the correct way."
November to remember?
Here is a look at the upcoming schedule for the Bengals (5-2):
Nov. 1 Bye
Nov. 8 Baltimore (3-3)
Nov. 15 @Pittsburgh (5-2)
Nov. 22 @Oakland (2-5)
Nov. 29 Cleveland (1-6)