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Bengals Get an Early Season Break

The schedule makers of the NFL did the Cincinnati Bengals a big favor on Wednesday night. Despite drawing the defending back-to-back Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in week two, the Bengals early season stretch shakes out very favorably.

Slow starts

The Bengals have gotten off to painfully slow starts since Joe Burrow was drafted in 2020. Being 6-7-1 in September games in that span and having started 0-2 three separate times. Certainly not an ideal mark for a contender in this league, one the Bengals can improve upon in 2024.

Cincinnati’s early stumbles can be attributed to Burrow’s numerous offseason injuries that he has to work his way back from. From covid, to ACL, appendix, and calf injuries the Bengals offense have not been able to have a normal offseason with their starting quarterback. Missing valuable reps in training camp has led to the Bengals offense still trying to find themselves nearly a month into the season.

A new beginning

The 2024 NFL schedule was released on Wednesday, May 15th and, literally, on paper, this year is the ‘easiest’ start the Bengals have had to a season in some time.

The Bengals will have the honor of welcoming some of the league’s NEW rookie signal callers into the NFL. In their first four games, Cincinnati’s defense will face two rookie QBs in Drake Maye (week 1) and Jayden Daniels (week 3), assuming both win the starting job for their respected franchises. After the early introduction to tomorrow’s faces of the franchise the Bengals will meet up with former first overall pick and struggling sophomore QB Bryce Young and the last place Panthers in week four.

Not only will the Bengals be up against a few young quarterbacks who will still be finding their way, those same three teams will also still be in their infancy stages with their new head coaches. Two being first time head coaches in Jerod Mayo and Dave Canales who will still be trying to get a footing as head coaches.

There is no doubt the Bengals can breathe a little lighter facing the Patriots, Commanders, and Panthers out of the gate–all at home in the jungle. All three teams who finished with four or fewer wins in 2023.

It doesn’t get easier

The Bengals have to capitalize and start fast. If they can’t take advantage of this start, they won’t find many more breaks later in their schedule. After their week 12 bye, Cincinnati will have three divisional matchups to end the year. After going a pitiful 1-5 vs the AFC North in 2023, each of those games will have a little more emphasis on them.

The Bengals will also have a national spotlight on them in week 14 when they travel to Big D to take on the Cowboys on Monday Night Football. The Bengals have only walked out of a Dallas with a win once in their history, all the way back in 1988. To boot, the Bengals just won their first road primetime game in 2023 since the 2012 season, ending a dreadful losing streak. Safe to say history isn’t on their side for this matchup.

The Dallas game kicks off a 10-day span where Cincinnati will have to play three games from weeks 14 to 16. Injuries have derailed the Bengals last two seasons, no question this stretch will be pivotal to their season if they can make it out healthy.

A fast start will be crucial for the Bengals. Not all games are must wins but all games matter. Had the Bengals taken care of the Titans in week four, they may’ve had a shot at a playoff spot after the team was able to stay alive late in the year. The Bengals don’t want another “look back” game that could have them thinking what could’ve been.


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