Kyle Cook, the Bengals' starting center, suffered a high-ankle sprain in the preseason and has yet to play one snap in the regular season. Left guard Travelle Wharton, the team's first free-agent signing, went down with a season-ending knee injury on the opening series of the preseason opener.
Instead of making excuses, the Bengals filled those voids and put together one of the top offensive lines in the NFL this season. According to Pro Football Focus, the Bengals have the fourth-best offensive line in the league, trailing only the 49ers, Patriots and Saints. Cincinnati's line is rated the second-best in pass protection and 16th in run blocking.
Here are the other rankings for the AFC North offensive lines:
BROWNS: 10th overall; third in pass protection and 14th in run blocking. This has been helpful for rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, who ranks 23rd in the NFL in being sacked.
RAVENS: 14th overall; 20th in pass protection and sixth in run blocking. Here's another reason why the Ravens should allow Ray Rice to carry the ball more.
STEELERS: 18th overall; 10th in pass protection and 25th in run blocking. Like the Bengals, the Steelers' offensive line has been hit with injuries (four starters have missed at least one start). Unlike the Bengals, the Steelers weren't able to overcome them.