The 2019 NFL Schedule is out. Every game is big, but a few send a team in one direction or the other. Here is a look at those games for this year’s Bengals.
Week 1 at Seattle:
Seattle is a tough place to play under any circumstance. However, for it to be the first regular season game for a coaching staff as inexperienced as this one is a whole other level of difficult. The Bengals don’t necessarily need to win this game. Still, players know expectations are fairly low for the team. If they are at the very least competitive here, it would be a nice confidence boost going forward. If Cincinnati gets blown out here, the “here we go again” mentality may be tough to avoid.
Week 4 at Pittsburgh (Monday Night Football):
2-1 is a perfectly realistic expectation for the Bengals after three games. Then, they will have to deal with two of their biggest Achilles Heels at once, the Steelers and primetime games. No one expects the Steelers to completely fall off the face of the Earth, but they are not as talented as they once were. For the “New Dey” to be anything more than a social media hashtag and to reenergize a long suffering fanbase, Zac Taylor needs to win games like this.
Week 8 at Rams (London):
Absent some sort of dramatic change, the Bengals will be heavy underdogs here. However, Taylor may have some inside info on his former team, which could help. Much like the Steelers game, the Bengals record should be respectable when they get here. Beating the 49ers, Cardinals, Bills and Jags is no sure thing, but is attainable. If that happens, this will be the game that shows how serious the Bengals are as contenders.
By the time we get to the second half of the NFL season, anything can and usually does happen. For the Bengals, it is these three first half games that will decide whether they are playing for pride or something more when that time rolls around.
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