Cincinnati Bengals: A Different Look at the 2019 Schedule
Even though we all do it, looking at your favorite football team’s schedule and marking it W’s and L’s before the season is far too simplistic of an approach. Here is a deeper look at the schedule for this year’s Cincinnati Bengals.
There are no sure things in NFL. When trying to predict a team’s fate, especially that of the Cincinnati Bengals, that needs to be accounted for. Marking each game as W or L does not do that. Additionally, we still don’t have anywhere near a complete picture of what teams will look like.
Even so, we know a heck of a lot more than we did when the schedule first came out. So, now is a good time to break Cincinnati’s 16 regular season games into four groups.
Anything can happen any given week in the NFL. However, if the Bengals win even one of these games, fans should dance in the streets.
at Seattle– This will be the first game that matters for a coaching staff that is almost entirely brand new. Seattle may be the toughest place in football to play. As long as Russell Wilson is around, the Seahawks will be a tall order for any team. When you add in the new staff for Cincinnati, this one could get ugly. If it does, people should not be surprised or write this team off. You could not hand pick a tougher opener Zac Taylor and his players.
vs. New England– Miracles in Miami aside, December 15th is well into the part of year where Bill Belichick and Tom Brady simply do not lose. Absent an injury to Brady, there is not a reason to think the duo might start now.
vs. Rams– This one will take place in London. The Bengals actually appear to have enough offensive talent to hang with their new head coach’s former team. However, based on last year, the Rams defense is far more capable of getting the few key stops this game will likely require.
Games They Must Take Advantage of
If the Bengals are going to surprise people this year, they have got to clean up against teams that either have quarterback issues, are starting over, or just don’t look very good on paper. Frankly, a lot of people would put the Bengals in this group. These games are…
vs. San Francisco– A west coast team traveling east is always an opportunity for the home team. The same logic applies to the next game in this section too. The 49ers are not hopeless, but Jimmy Garoppolo should still be rusty in Week 2. This is one Cincinnati should win.
vs Arizona– Yes, Kliff Kingsbury has a nice offensive track record. Still, he went 35-40 as a head coach in the Big 12. The NFL won’t go well and the Cardinals will be picking at or near the top of the draft again.
vs. Jacksonville– The Jaguars roster is not in the same galaxy as the Eagles one that helped Nick Foles get paid this offseason. He will regress and the Jags will struggle.
at Oakland– Derek Carr and Antonio Brown could be a scary duo, but the Raiders organization as a whole remains a mess. At least Cincinnati has a clear direction.
at Miami– Even if Josh Rosen and/or Ryan Fitzpatrick play well, the Dolphins do not have much else. Conversely, It cannot be overstated that the Bengals offense can cause problems for any opponent. A.J. Green should be back well ahead of this Week 15 tilt.
This pair of games could realistically go either way. The Cincinnati Bengals do not feel like a bad matchup for them on paper, but that also works the other way.
vs. New York Jets– Sam Darnold did some good things last year as a rookie, but also played like a rookie at times. The Jets have added a lot of talent around him this year. Regardless of opponent, the Jets being a tough matchup this year hinges on Darnold taking the next step and cutting down turnovers.
at Buffalo– Everything above about New York is also true of the Bills and Josh Allen. This game is a little tougher for the Bengals. Buffalo has a surprisingly decent home field advantage.
The six divison game are a little more important for every team. The goal for every team should be to at least split with divison rivals. That at least puts you in the mix for most tiebreaking scenarios.
The Cincinnati Bengals went 1-5 against AFC North opponets last year, but as discussed in the link above, the divsion is almost impossible to predict this year and anything could happen. Spliting with the Browns, Ravens, and Steelers is realistic for the Bengals this year.