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No more overlooking Bengals after win vs. Ravens

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Jimmy Johnson

Jimmy Johnson was the architect of the Dallas Cowboys' dynasty in the mid-1990s. His team celebrated two consecutive Super Bowl victories with Johnson at the helm. He joined "FOX NFL Sunday" in 2010. Follow him on Twitter.

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The Bengals are so much better than anyone gave them credit for; no one was really prepared for this. Without one fluke play in the loss to the Broncos, they would be 5-0. The Bengals have floundered for the past few seasons, but when you have a talent like Carson Palmer — and he's healthy again — and Chad Ochocinco, whom we know can make plays, and the way that Cedric Benson is running the football — and that, too, has been a shocker — your offense has a chance to be pretty good. Plus, they have been playing very good defense. They have probably been even overlooked by their opponents this first month of the season. I don't think they will be overlooked anymore. You could say they were fortunate to be in some games and fortunate to win some games, but when you go to Baltimore and beat the Ravens in Baltimore, that makes everyone in the league stand up and take notice. The big thing — and I said this on-air on Sunday — we get so carried away with stars and all the great talent in the NFL. But fans should realize that every one of these teams is talented. There is not a team in the NFL that doesn't have some talent. And the one thing that emotion and passion can help is the defense and the intensity on defense. On offense, you need great execution. So, with Mike Zimmer being the team's defensive coordinator, I figured the Bengals' defensive players would play with great passion because they knew how much he was hurting with the recent loss of his wife, Vikki. And that's what helped them beat Baltimore; those defensive players played with great passion and gave tremendous effort.

Nothing for Cowboys to build on

This Cowboys win is just a win. And that's all. Any time you have 13 accepted penalties and a bunch more that weren't accepted and you turn the ball over a couple of times, you can try to build on some positives like receiver Miles Austin having a career game and you can build on some positives of winning in overtime, but you can't build on beating Kansas City. Why? Because Kansas City is a terrible football team. So, if you are the Cowboys with all that talent and you have to go to overtime to beat the Chiefs, something is drastically wrong! The Cowboys are a sloppy football team. I said it a year ago, and I thought they might have gotten out of it out of their system, but I'm saying it again: They are a sloppy football team. Any time you have that many penalties and keep turning the ball over, you are not going to win the big games necessary to be a playoff team.

Raiders, in a word: awful

I can be really simple on the Raiders. They are flat-out awful. And their quarterback ... well, I can't think of a word that's worse than awful for JaMarcus Russell. Why he's in the lineup, I have no idea. I think you could take a guy off the street and he'd be better than him. He looks like a guy to me who enjoys a paycheck but puts in as much time playing quarterback as I do.

Lack of depth for Redskins

A lot of people didn't listen to what I said on Sunday's show about Washington. Now, I must say Washington does have some talent. But when you spend as much money as the Redskins have spent on high-priced veterans, there has to be some talent there. I am not saying they don't have high-priced talent; I'm just saying they don't have a talented roster from 1 to 53 players. That bottom end of the roster is not real talented because they haven't drafted well. And I will admit they have a couple good young players like safety LaRon Landry. I just don't like their philosophy on how to build a football team — trying to build a team with high-priced veteran castoffs. And they have the talent to be a mediocre team, but the Redskins won't be a championship team until they change their philosophy. They had a great chance for a road win in Carolina, but they simply couldn't hold a 15-point lead.

2 Falcons hit their strides

I tell you I was waiting — the 49ers probably could have waited a bit longer — for Atlanta's Roddy White and Michael Turner to break out. Both of those players had been pretty limited in the first three games. Turner's longest run was 16 yards and White's longest reception had been 17 yards. Both of them had breakout games in San Francisco. We thought the Falcons were going to be good before the season started, and I think they will be a factor all season in the NFC South. Quarterback Matt Ryan is playing great, and they have talent on both sides of the ball. San Francisco needs to get Michael Crabtree on the field as quickly as it can. Why? Because as hard as they play and how disciplined the 49ers are, they need some firepower on offense, especially when Frank Gore is out. They have the bye coming up, and they say that Gore will be back. If they can get Gore and Crabtree on the field when they travel to Houston in two weeks, it should make them a much better team. Shaun Hill needs to have some firepower to help him out there. He didn't have that on Sunday, and that's why they couldn't catch Atlanta once the Falcons broke to such a big early lead.
Tagged: Falcons, Bengals, Cowboys, 49ers, Redskins, Ravens, Chad Johnson, Shaun Hill, Carson Palmer, Michael Turner, Roddy White, Frank Gore, Cedric Benson, Miles Austin, Matt Ryan, Michael Crabtree

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