CINCINNATI -- As I watched the Atlanta Falcons recover turnover after turnover and score touchdown after touchdown Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I kept seeing Cincinnati Bengals fans chiming in on social media about how advantageous the blowout was for their team.
Personally, I think they're right.
If the Falcons, a team the Bengals seemed to get by with relative ease without their best playmaker (A.J. Green), can perform as well against another team as it did in that game, then it has to mean that not only are the Falcons pretty good, but by association the Bengals are, too.
In now two of the three games the Falcons have played this season, their offense has rolled. In Week 1, they put up more than 500 yards of total offense in a 37-34 overtime win over a now 0-2 Saints team that is better than its record indicates.
On Thursday, Atlanta was even more prolific scoring-wise, beating the Bucs 56-14. They were 12 yards shy of 500 on the night and got out to such a large lead that quarterback Matt Ryan and the starters left early.
So what does this have to do with the Bengals?
Well, so far, Cincinnati has been the only team to tame the Falcons' high-powered scheme. Last week, the Bengals' defense held the Falcons to just 212 yards passing and fewer than 100 yards rushing. They also appeared to completely own Atlanta at the line of scrimmage and hounded Ryan to the point that he was sacked three times and knocked down twice as he threw. Two of Ryan's three interceptions in the game also were thrown in spots where Bengals safety George Iloka was in proper position to pick the passes off with few Falcons pass-catchers all that close to him.
The 24-10 final was actually a lot closer than the flow of the game indicated.
Can we then, take the Bengals' performance in that game and apply it to what the Falcons did to the Buccaneers? Can we consider the Bengals a top-3 team (they rank No. 3 in ESPN's Power Rankings this week) because of that? Or have this season's early results simply been a matter of consequence, and it's too early to say if they have any bearing on who the Bengals or Falcons (or Bucs, for that matter) will be this year?
Those are questions I'd like for you to answer in our SportsNation poll. As always, feel free to expand upon your vote in the Comments section below.
Let the voting commence.