The new leader of the AFC North is the Cincinnati Bengals (6-3).
Here are five things to know about the 2013 Bengals:
1. Big-time injuries
The Bengals suffered a huge loss last week when Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins tore his ACL, knocking him out for the rest of the year. He can be a dominating force inside, and a strong pass rusher. Top cornerback Leon Hall tore his Achilles two weeks ago and is also done for the year. Cincinnati inside linebacker Rey Maualuga (their second-leading tackler) will also likely be out with a sprained knee.
2. Andy Dalton continues to progress
After throwing five touchdowns against the New York Jets, Andy Dalton was touted as the best quarterback in the AFC North – ahead of Joe Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger. The numbers back it up. Dalton has improved for a third straight season. He is fourth in the NFL in passing yards (2,587) and ninth in quarterback rating (92.0). He is completing 64.8 percent of his passes and has thrown 16 touchdowns.
3. They've got their own Ray Rice
Rookie running back Giovani Bernard may be the Bengals' best-kept secret. He's still listed as the backup to BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but Bernard is the one to be worried about. Bernard is averaging 4.5 yards per carry and has four touchdowns. For proof of how electric the second-round pick is, check out his weaving 35-yard touchdown run in Miami. The North Carolina product is built very similar to the Ravens' Ray Rice; he's an inch taller and four pounds lighter, with similar burst.
4. A complement to A.J. Green
Everybody knows about the Bengals' beastly third-year wide receiver A.J. Green. But now he may finally have a complementing piece on the other side. Marvin Jones was a fifth-round draft choice in 2012 out of California. He exploded onto the scene in Week 8 when he caught four touchdown passes against the New York Jets. The 6-foot-2 speedster has 28 catches for 435 yards on the year.
5. A familiar tackling machine
Ravens fans who pay attention to the draft may remember this name: Vontaze Burfict. The inside linebacker was at one time projected by many draftniks to be Ray Lewis' heir in Baltimore. But with a resume full of red flags coming out of Arizona State, Burfict slid all the way from a first-round prospect to undrafted. The Bengals took a chance on him and it has paid huge dividends. Burfict is tied with Dallas' Sean Lee with the most tackles in the NFL (90).