CINCINNATI — The Bengals' schedule for the 2021 season was released on Wednesday night. Cincinnati has 17 games, including nine home contests and one primetime matchup against the Jaguars.
Here are three quick observations of the Bengals' 2021 schedule.
There's no reason why the Bengals shouldn't get off to a quick start. If they're going to turn a corner and take a step forward this season, then they better do it in the first eight weeks.
Starting the season against Kirk Cousins, Andy Dalton [maybe], Ben Roethlisberger and Trevor Lawrence is a gift. Follow that up with Jared Goff and Zach Wilson in Week 6 and Week 8, respectively and the Bengals have a shot to have a winning record eight weeks into the season.
They won't be favored in many of those games. They'll be home underdogs against Minnesota and Green Bay, but they have an opportunity to get off to a quick start and build momentum in the first half of the season.
If the Bengals are going to surprise people this season, then they're going to have to win on the road. Most of their home games are against playoff teams from a year ago. The Packers, Browns, Steelers, Ravens and Chiefs all went to the postseason in 2020. Mix in teams like the Chargers and 49ers—both are expected to make the playoffs—and it's easy to see the path to another losing season.
If the Bengals can win on the road against teams like the Bears, Lions, Jets, Raiders and Broncos—it'll do wonders for their chances of playing meaningful games in December and early January.
The Bengals play five of their final seven games of the 2021 season at Paul Brown Stadium. Despite being at home, this is arguably their toughest stretch. They go up against six legitimate playoff contenders—including the Steelers, 49ers and Chargers.
While those games are winnable, their final three games are brutal. They host Baltimore and Kansas City in Weeks 16 and 17, respectively, before finishing the regular season on the road in Cleveland.
If the Bengals are still in the playoff hunt, then it should be a fun final two months of the season. If they aren't, then they'll almost certainly get a chance to play spoiler.
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