The Bengals are in rare territory for them: Unbeaten after three games with an early chance to take control of their division.
A 28-24 win in Baltimore left the Bengals (3-0) one of three unbeaten teams in the AFC, along with New England and Denver.
Since the 1990 season, 75 percent of the teams that started a season 3-0 have reached the playoffs.
What's more encouraging is the way they've gotten there. The defense looks vintage with end Michael Johnson back and tackle Geno Atkins fully recovered from reconstructive knee surgery. And Andy Dalton is playing better than ever in his fifth season.
"The way we're clicking right now, it would be naive not to think that this is really a great opportunity for us to escalate in our division and within the AFC," receiver Marvin Jones said on Monday. "It's important to note that, keeping a mindset we're in this play-by-play, game-by-game. But you obviously see the big picture and right now, it's in our favor."
Cincinnati is a game up on Pittsburgh (2-1), which lost quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for several weeks to a sprained left knee on Sunday. Cleveland (1-2) has gone through more quarterback issues. And the Ravens are three games back with a home loss to the Bengals.
The Bengals are 3-0 for the second consecutive season and the eighth time in franchise history. They host Kansas City at home on Sunday with a chance to go 4-0 for only the third time. Their best starts were 6-0 in 1975 and 1988.
"We've had this start before," coach Marvin Lewis said. "They know what it takes, and I think that gives you confidence.