CINCINNATI — The Bengals' schedule for the 2022 regular season was released on Thursday night. Cincinnati starts the year at home against Pittsburgh. Here are three thoughts on the schedule, which includes five primetime games.
Tale of Two Halves
The Bengals may have the third-toughest schedule this season, but the first half of the season doesn't look nearly as daunting as the second half.
Their first nine opponents had a combined record of 71-81-1 last season. Only two of them (Pittsburgh and Dallas) made the playoffs.
The second half of the season is much more challenging. Six of the eight teams they play qualified for the postseason and the only two that didn't (Ravens and Browns) finished 8-9. Their final eight opponents posted an 83-52-1 record last season.
If Cincinnati is going to make another Super Bowl run, they need to get off to a hit start and handle business early in the season.
The most challenging part of the Bengals' schedule has to be Weeks 13-18. They play the Chiefs and Browns at home, before hitting the road to play Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay. They travel to New England to take on the Patriots and finish the season with home games against the Bills and Ravens.
Cincinnati should certainly have their eyes on the No. 1 seed in the AFC. They'll need to win four of six during this stretch to have a real chance at getting the top seed in the conference.
AFC North Lights
The Bengals must be the most interesting team in the AFC North. The division is loaded with talent, but three of Cincinnati's five primetime games are against AFC North opponents—and they're all on the road.
They play the Ravens in Baltimore in Week 5. They travel to Cleveland to play the Browns on Monday Night Football and they play in Pittsburgh in Week 11 following their bye.
If Cincinnati is going to win their division for a second consecutive season, then they're going to do it in front of a national audience.
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