The Bengals surprised everybody. Nobody expected the 180 they turned. They lost their quarterback and wide receiver in the offseason, and replaced them with two improbable rookies. They were a mediocre 15th in total defense and 20th in total offense in the 2010 season. The immediate future looked bleak. They drafted AJ Green with the second pick in the draft, and then selected Andy Dalton with the 35th selection in the second round. The expectations for Dalton and Green were that they could save the franchise from the misery it had wallowed in for so long now. The implication was that it was in the future. Instead, Cincinnati is a serious playoff contender, and legitimate power. Dalton and Green have meshed so miraculously, with such harmony, that they turned a 4-12 team from 2010 into a 7-4 year with a potential wildcard spot. Even though the rookies have far exceeded their expected ceilings, the true strength of the team is the defense. They rank 5th in total defense through their 11 games this season. The Bengals truly are a microcosm for the unpredictability of the NFL. They’ve gone from the bottom of the totem pole to a player in one of the toughest divisions in football. You never know how a season is going to play out. Ask the Eagles.