Cincinnati Bengals’ 2020 schedule: 3 keys to the season
With the 2020 NFL schedule now released, we look at three keys to the Cincinnati Bengals upcoming season.
After an eventful and uncharacteristic offseason, the Cincinnati Bengals now turn their attention to preparing for the regular season.
Although the goal of every team in the league is to win the Super Bowl each year, the Bengals went 2-14 last year. Despite a smart influx of new talent, a championship isn’t a realistic expectation this season.
A 6-7 win campaign in the first year of the Joe Burrow era would be fantastic. Now that we know how the schedule lines up, here are three keys to the Bengals making that happen.
1. Win at least one of the first two games
As things stand, apart from an early October home date with Jacksonville, there are not many games for Bengals fans to feel overly certain about marking a W next to. Most of Cincinnati’s games fall into the category of “potential win”, but only if they play a clean game and catch a break or two. The Chargers and Browns are perfect examples.
The Chargers will probably have Tyrod Taylor at quarterback early in the year. He is serviceable, but not scaring anyone. Apart from that, they have an underrated ground attack, a couple of nice pass catchers, and their defensive line, led by Joey Bosa, can get after the quarterback. Replace Bosa with Geno Atkins, and the last sentence fits the Bengals. They can win the season opener.
The Browns arguably have more talent than the Bengals on paper, but that didn’t matter at the end of last year. Cleveland is a dysfunctional mess until results say otherwise. Thus, Cincinnati can win the first edition of the 2020 Battle of Ohio.
If the Bengals can win one or two at the start, who knows? If not, feelings of “here we go again” will be tough to avoid.
2. Beat the bottom feeders
The first step out of laughingstock territory is to beat the other bad teams. After the Jacksonville game, Cincinnati eventually deals with the Redskins, Giants, and Dolphins in consecutive weeks.
I am more bullish on the Redskins than the rest of the world if they get any kind of decent quarterback play. Still, these are bad teams that the Bengals must beat in order to make any real progress this year. Period.
3. A surprise or two
Along with the second matchup with the Browns, the five games spotlighted thus far are Cincinnati’s most winnable games. Anything else would surprise me.
With the scheduling break the Ravens got, it will be tough for anyone to beat them in the regular season. If the Bengals couldn’t beat the Steelers at least once last year, without Ben Roethlisberger, getting over their rivals seems like a difficult task.
With those options looking less than ideal, realistic opportunities for a surprise victory are slim. The good news is the NFL has surprises every week. There is no reason the Bengals cannot partake in that on occasion in 2020.
Everyone wants playoff wins and a Super Bowl. The fans of Cincinnati deserve it, but if the Bengals can accomplish the three things above in 2020, the long term future is bright in The Jungle.