This post is sponsored by Prilosec
Each week on SBNation.com we'll have the NFL Victory of the Week, presented by Prilosec. The winning team is decided by conducting a poll on Tuesdays across all of the SB Nation NFL blogs throughout the 2010 season, with you -- the readers -- voting for the biggest win of each week.
The Bengals were staring at an 0-2 start to the season after taking a beating in New England in Week 1, and facing division rival Baltimore, who were coming off a big road win over the Jets. This was a game Cincy needed, and they got it with an opportunistic defense.
But, like their narrow victory on Sunday, the Bengals won the poll by a mere 24 votes out of over 17,000 cast! The screen shot below captures the moment we cut the voting off and the Bengals/Ravens barely getting the nod over the Bears/Cowboys game.
SB Nation's blog, Cincy Jungle, explains why the Bengals were worthy of the Victory of the Week:
Of the 16 games played last week, five were selected as nominees for this week's Prilosec Victory of the Week. Among those nominations were the Houston Texans' win over the Washington Redskins where both quarterbacks recorded 400 yards passing in the same game for the first time since 1994. Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears knocking the highly favored Dallas Cowboys down a peg, sending them off with an unexpected 0-2 record to start the season. The new no-name Miami Dolphins defense forcing Brett Favre to throw three picks with a great goalline stand against Adrian Peterson to seal the win. And after New England's near flawless win over Cincinnati in week one and Baltimore's win over the Jets, would you have guessed that New York would beat the Patriots by 14 points?
Still, Cincinnati's 15-10 win over the Baltimore Ravens is big for several reasons. One, it reinforced Cincinnati's standing as the team-to-beat in the AFC North, extending their winning streak in the division to eight games. Two, Baltimore, one of the preseason favorites to make the playoffs, was beaten by a team whose 10-6 record in 2009 was sometimes suspected as a fluke. Three, after finishing last year as the fourth-ranked defense, the Bengals also humbled the Ravens, which was capped with a four-interception game by the suddenly opportunistic defense.
Not only does Cincinnati's win last Sunday set the stage for the division, but after a disastrous showing against New England in week one, the Bengals are finally showing the fire many would expect. The Bengals aren't just a wild card; they are going to contend for more than a hope and a prayer to make the playoffs. And Sunday's win is only the beginning.