Cincinnati Bengals: 4 must-win games on 2021 schedule

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

We are all guilty of going through the Cincinnati Bengals schedule and marking it with Ws and Ls is an oversimplification. This is true for any NFL schedule. Less than two months out from the regular season, you can put games into mental columns.

The Bengals have won six total games in the last two seasons. The roster remains imperfect. Still, it has improved enough so that the Bengals should at the very least graduate from pushover status in 2021.

Thus, there are games like Cincinnati’s first two against the Vikings and Bears that can be described as “coinflips.” There are other games like division tilts against Super Bowl-caliber rosters like Baltimore and Cleveland that fall in the “likely losses” category. The vast majority of the Bengals’ schedule can be put in these two groups.

Also, an offense with a healthy Joe Burrow and established threats like Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and Joe Mixon becomes all the more difficult to handle with the addition of incoming rookie Ja’Marr Chase. That group is more than enough for Cincinnati to win some of those coinflip games on offense alone.

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There is a third category: Games that a team “should win.” If the Bengals can’t win these four games, it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the schedule.