The Bengals could benefit from fan-free start to the season
No one wants any NFL games to be played without fans, but a fan-free start would not be the worst thing in the world for the Cincinnati Bengals.
The only certainty in regards to the upcoming NFL season is that if it happens with the ongoing pandemic, no one knows exactly what it will look like. Right now, any scenario is speculative.
However, one idea being floated is starting the season without fans in attendance, then trickling them in as the season wears on.
For the sake of argument, let’s say the league goes fan-free for the first month of the year. There is no way around the possible sting of Paul Brown Stadium lacking the buzz of fans for the regular-season opener of the Joe Burrow era.
Once you get past that though, an empty stadium in the first month may really help Cincinnati.
They have a rookie quarterback. They also have an unproven offensive line whose success or failure rides almost entirely on the ability of Jonah Williams to solidify it. After missing all of last year, Williams is also basically a rookie.
After the opener, the Bengals head to Cleveland and Philadelphia, two of the most passionate fan bases in football. With the Battle of Ohio coming in Week 2, Browns fans will still be pumped to clash with their rivals on Thursday Night Football. In addition, Eagles fans always show out for their team that seems to be a steady playoff contender in recent history.
Taking real crowd noise out of those games would be a huge break for Burrow, Williams, and the rest of the young Bengals. It suddenly makes those games look more winnable for a team that is sure to be underdogs.
Again, no one wants NFL football without fans, but if it takes the Bengals from a 1-3 to a 2-2 team through four games, it may prove to be worth it