If you’re a true Cincinnati Bengals fan, you’ll have no problem admitting the truth. The one thing that hinders the Bengals chances at widespread respect is their primetime performance. Last season, the Bengals were hit with four primetime appearances. The 2016 campaign will have the same amount. This year’s results will have to be substantially better than 2015.
The potential insanity is aided by the bright lights.
Though the Bengals raised eyebrows, last year’s performance under the lights was skeptical. After posting a record of 1-3 in primetime battles, the jury is still out on Cincinnati’s firepower. Analysts tend to equate play under the stars with playoff potential. It’s all about the pressure, confidence and teams played. The Cleveland Browns ventured into Paul Brown Stadium—for Thursday Night Football—and got smashed. But, that was the lone night-time win for the Bengals.
Looking at the schedule for 2016, things seem to favor the home team Bengals. Yet, that was the rationale for last year too. The regular-season had steamrolled to an 8-0 start, before things fell apart against the Texans. Houston seems to have the Bengals figured out. If the Orange and Black want to prove a point, Week 16 will be a good start.
Week 4 could be a moment of reckoning also. When the Miami Dolphins saunter into PBS, the game won’t be a gimme. Former Bengals’ defensive backs coach, Vance Joseph, will try to show he’s worthy. As the Phins’ D-coordinator, he’ll be locked in a duel with Paul Guenther. The competition will be wild and crazy. Once again, the outcome will boil down to game day desire.
The Week 15 game is a no-brainer. Anytime Bengals-Steelers is the matchup, things get furious. Having the game so late in the season isn’t the problem. The potential insanity is aided by the bright lights. Showtime. This will be their first primetime meeting since The Game. Emotions will be sky-high.
The NFL must have a crystal ball at their New York headquarters. When the Week 10 game against the Giants was announced, there was moderate interest. Since Leon Hall signed with the G-Men, things suddenly got real. The battle under the moon will now become Hall’s chance to prove he’s still got it. The Bengals will try to show fans they made the right move.
Suddenly, the path to Super Bowl 51 becomes a fork in the road. The Bengals can still end their season at NRG Stadium, but the focus will need to be adjusted. Primetime won’t break the Bengals. Yet, winning at night will increase their odds of success.