I don't expect them to get any respect, because awards aren't given out at the 9 game mark of the NFL season, so I agree with you there. Nope they haven't won any playoff games in the Palmer era, but this year is a different group. It's not the same 'ol Bungles that everyone is used to. The 2005 group was a good team, but flashy and enigmatic. This team is more workmanline. They are playing with a hunger and an edge. None of which may mean anything in the playoffs, but I can't look at any of the elite AFC teams and claim that the Bengals are outmatched against any of them.
They don't get talked about much because they have ZERO nationally televised games. Most people are still going to gravitate towards teams like the Steelers and the Ravens because they're always seen.