The NFL is a week-to-week league. Cincinnati looked absolutely awful in its last outing, a 27-3 Thursday night home-field loss to Cleveland. But on Sunday, the Bengals played like the team that’s made the playoffs for the last three years They came into a hostile building and dominated from their first possession onward. It shows you what a little desperation can do for a team. The Saints haven’t found that motivating element yet, and they don’t seem to know how to.


Jeremy Hill. The Bengals’ rookie running back from LSU makes you wonder why he lasted until the third round, other than that’s where players at his first position are slotted these days plus his character issues. He had 152 yards on 27 carries, 62 of them on a bruising, breakaway run that conveniently ended at the Saints 24 with one second left in the half, allowing Mike Nugent to boot a 42-yard field goal to give the visitors an unexpected 13-3 lead. There’s a long, productive career ahead for this young man.


Super Bowl XLIX is in Glendale, Arizona on Feb. 1. Don’t count seeing the Saints there. Whether it was the collective effect of all of those close losses (doubtful), a growing injury list with inadequate replacements (plausible) or just the realization that this team was overrated (Bingo!), the Saints are destroying preseason expectations, including their own. They may stumble into the playoffs because somebody has to win the NFC South, but that’s likely to result in a humiliating home field loss just like Sunday’s.

-- Ted Lewis