It’s been an up-and-down season so far for the Cincinnati Bengals, which isn’t exactly what most were expecting after watching Joe Burrow and company reach the Super Bowl last season.

Despite the hot and cold season, the Bengals are actually on pace (their pace) to reach the Super Bowl again.

Stay with me here.

The Bengals beat the Carolina Panthers 42-21 on Sunday to improve to 5-4 heading into the bye week.

And guess what their record was a year ago heading into the bye week.

That’s right, 5-4.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) and Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) celebrate after a Week 9 NFL game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022, at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati. Mandatory Credit: Albert Cesare-The Enquirer
Nfl Carolina Panthers At Cincinnati Bengals

And it’s not just the record that’s similar.

The first half of the Bengals’ season has had several parallels to last year.

Cincinnati didn’t win more than two games in a row before the bye last year and the same is true this season.

The Bengals were also blown out by the Cleveland Browns last season before the bye week just like they were this season.

Everything is there for the Bengals just like it was last season. In fact, if the Baltimore Ravens lose to the New Orleans Saints on Monday night football, Cincinnati will be tied for first in the AFC North.

A year ago, the Bengals were a game behind the Ravens after the first nine games of the season.

Maybe they’ll be in even better shape than we thought.

Either way, Cincinnati is very much a Super Bowl contender as we enter the second half of the season.

Joe Mixon is a top ___ RB in the NFL

Featured image via Sam Greene / USA TODAY NETWORK