What’s Weird About The Bengals’ 2017 Schedule?

Nov 27, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) pressured by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs (55) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 27, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) pressured by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs (55) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports /

The complete NFL schedule has officially been released. This means fans get their first looks at how the season may shake out for their teams. When looking at the Bengals’ schedule, there are some stretches that are interesting simply for their weirdness.

The release of the Bengals’ schedule means that people finally have their chance to analyze it. At the start of the year, players and fans can easily point to stretches that seem easy or difficult. However, the Bengals have some anomalies on their schedule that are not necessarily easy or hard, they are just strange. Here are the four weirdest parts of the Bengals’ schedule and what they mean for the team.

The Bengals Open And Close The Season Against The Ravens

Remember last year when Rex Burkhead and the Bengals ran all over a defeated Ravens team? Well, the Men in Stripes open up against that very same Ravens team at home. However, this time Burkhead is no longer on the roster, and the new season means the Ravens won’t be as lifeless as last time. Opening with the Ravens isn’t the strange part of the equation. The strangeness of it comes from the fact that the Bengals will also finish the season against the Ravens just as they did the year prior.

The NFL’s scheduling always plays divisional matchups the last week of the season, so there is always a 33.33 percent chance of playing the Raven’s in this game but this is still odd nonetheless. Hopefully, the Week 17 matchup means more than it did last season when it didn’t factor into the playoffs at all.

The Bengals Start The Season Playing Two Games In Four Days

Thanks to the NFL’s dedication to Thursday Night Football, the Bengals will play their Week 2 game against the Texans just four days after their season opener. This means that the first two games are pivotal for the Bengals because they could very quickly be 2-0 or 0-2 less than a week into the season. The good news for Cincy is that their first two games are winnable. They play an up and down Baltimore team and a Texans team with major issues at the quarterback position. While players often complain about quick turnaround Thursday night games, this one may work in their favor because they will get more time to prepare for their week three contest against the Packers.

Three Games In A Row vs. The AFC South

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In Weeks 9-11 the Bengals are set to take on the Colts, Jaguars, and Titans. All three of these teams are in the AFC South division and all three failed to make the playoffs last season. Even though they Bengals will play the Jaguars and Titans on the road, this is still one of the easiest stretches in the Bengals’ schedule since none of these teams had a winning record in 2016. This stretch may be welcomed after what will be a physical game against the Steelers in Week 8.

Three Straight Against The NFC North

It’s strange enough to play three teams from the same division in a row once during a season. However, the Bengals will actually do it twice. Weeks 14-16 will be occupied exclusively by NFC North opponents (Bears, Vikings, and Lions). These three games may be a bit more challenging than their AFC South streak. The Lions made the playoffs last year and the Vikings are capable of putting together solid performances. However, the Bengals could easily come out of this stretch with two wins at least. Another item of note is that this stretch is yet again preceded by a game against Pittsburgh.

Next: Final 7 Round Mock

It’s always fun to get the first glimpse at the new NFL schedule and imagine the possibilities. Even though the Bengals’ schedule contains some unusual patterns, it seems it could be favorable in the end. Plus, it could always be worse. They could be playing four teams that are coming off bye weeks like the Giants do.