We’re (almost) back, baby! The Cincinnati Bengals’ NFL schedule has been released (along with other teams’ schedules!), and it’s looking pretty good for them. Cincy was handed a relatively easy schedule, even if you include the tough divisional games. Let’s try and go week-by-week and see how the Bengals could do this season based on their schedule.
Week 1 – Sunday, September 10 at Cleveland Browns
The Browns are a complete paradox for Bengals fans. Over the last three years, Joe Burrow has a 1-4 record against Cleveland, despite Cincy being better over the season. It will all come down to how Cincy deals with the edge rushers of the Browns. With a new player joining the offensive line, there’s room for mistakes that Myles Garrett can capitalize on. Browns win, 0-1
Week 2 – Sunday, September 17 vs. Baltimore Ravens
Again, the brunt of the difficulty of the Bengals’ schedule lies in their divisional matchups. The Ravens are easily the primary challengers to Cincy’s hold of the AFC North. With Lamar Jackson back in the fold with some fancy new weapons, this could be a tough game for the Bengals. I can see this going either way, but I’ll give this game to Cincy. Bengals win, 1-1
Week 3 – Monday, September 25 vs. Los Angeles Rams
A rematch of Super Bowl LVI, this matchup has lost its luster due to the Rams’ futility last season. After two hellish games against division rivals, the Rams should be a much easier opponent to deal with. Aaron Donald is still a beast, and if the offense is healthy by Week 3, they can put up some fight. Ultimately, though, the Bengals should be much, much better than LA. Bengals win, 2-1
Week 4 – Sunday, October 1 at Tennessee Titans
Another rematch from the Bengals’ 2022 postseason run, this time against the Titans. Much like the Rams, Tennessee has taken a step back from their previous form. An improved offensive line that has had time to gel at this point should allow Burrow to pick apart the defense without fearing for his life. Bengals win, 3-1
Week 5 – Sunday, October 8 at Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals might just be the worst team in football this season. Barring any shocking surprises, this should be a win for the Bengals even if it’s their second straight game on the road. It’s worth noting that Kyler Murray might return from his injury around this point. Still, that doesn’t really move the needle much for Arizona. Bengals win, 4-1
Week 6 – Sunday, October 15 vs. Seattle Seahawks
A year ago, we would’ve pegged this as an easy schedule win a-la the Cardinals above. Alas, this is not the case. The Seahawks can and probably will give the Bengals fits in Week 6, even if they’re at home. Cincy still should be favored to win this game, but it’s definitely not going to be an easy contest like their other games through the NFC West. Bengals win, 5-1
Week 8 – Sunday, October 29 at San Francisco 49ers
The Bengals finish off the gauntlet against the NFC West with a game against the best team in the division, the 49ers. By this point in the season, one of Brock Purdy or Trey Lance should be back to lead the offense. Between Kyle Shanahan’s offensive genius and San Francisco’s stifling pass-rush, this might be a challenge too tough for the Bengals to handle. 49ers win, 5-2
Week 9 – Sunday, November 5 vs, Buffalo Bills
This was bound to happen. All of the talk in the AFC is between the Bengals and the Chiefs (more on that later), but the Bills also have an axe to grind against Cincy. They eliminated them last season in relatively easy fashion. Josh Allen and co. won’t let the Bengals get three straight on them, especially with Von Miller returning. It’s likely going to be a close game, though, so this could very well flip in Cincy’s favor. Bills win, 5-3
Week 10 – Sunday, November 12 vs. Houston Texans
Barring some crazy improvements, this should be another schedule win for the Bengals. The Texans have promise, but they’re far too young to compete with a title contender like Cincinnati. Bengals win, 6-3
Week 11 – Thursday, November 16 at Baltimore Ravens
As mentioned earlier, any battle against division rivals are tough, and the Ravens are the toughest among their opponents. Both teams will come into this game on a four-day rest, so that cancels out any fatigue-related advantage. Ultimately, the Bengals’ cohesive offense should edge out the Ravens. Bengals win, 7-3
Week 12 – Sunday, November 26 at Pittsburgh Steelers
The first game of the 2022 season saw a game filled with gaffes and a healthy dose of TJ Watt on Joe Burrow’s body. This time around, the Bengals are much more equipped to deal with Watt and the Steelers pass rush. Combined with Pittsburgh’s notoriously anemic offense, and this should be an easy win for Cincinnati. Bengals win, 8-3
Week 13 – Monday, December 4 at Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jaguars are an up-and-coming team, sort of like the Bengals back in 2021. However, they are still light-years behind Cincinnati in terms of talent. Jacksonville will put up a good fight, but the Bengals should handily take this game. Bengals win, 9-3
Week 14 – Sunday, December 10 vs. Indianapolis Colts.
The Bengals are lucky to get the AFC South as their interconference division opponents this season. Much like the Texans, the Colts are in the middle of a deep rebuild as well. Unless Anthony Richardson turns out to be the second coming of Lamar Jackson this early, this should be an easy Bengals win. Bengals win, 10-3
Week 15 – TBD vs. Minnesota Vikings
Don’t sleep on the Vikings. Cincinnati barely played against them over the last few years, and this has all the makings of a trap game. Justin Jefferson will take it upon himself to knock out his former college teammates. This could be a streak-snapping loss for the Bengals if they don’t prepare properly. Vikings win, 10-4.
Week 16 – Sunday, December 23 at Pittsburgh Steelers
Again, TJ Watt and Cameron Heyward is going to be a problem for the Bengals. Again, the Steelers offense can’t buy a touchdown to save their lives. Unless some drastic coaching changes happen (looking at you, Matt Canada), this should be another Cincy win. Bengals win, 11-4.
Week 17 – Sunday, New Year’s Eve at Kansas City Chiefs
The best rivalry in the AFC comes back for round five. Just like their last contests, this has all the makings to be a close game. I’m giving the Bengals the edge here due to the Chiefs’ lackluster WR room. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, though, it’s to never, ever doubt Patrick Mahomes. Bengals win, 12-4
Week 18 – TBD vs. Cleveland Browns
You’d think that this would be a Browns win, since by this point in the schedule the Bengals will rest their starters. Depending on how the division plays out, though, Cincy still could be fighting for something in Week 18. It could even be a first-round bye! If the Bengals go all out in Week 18, it’s over for Cleveland. Bengals win, 13-4
Final record: 13-4.