With the news that the Cincinnati Bengals won't be playing the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football when they return from their BYE, some fans still feel as though the stripes will get back into primetime. Yes, this game was flexed out but it wasn't because of the Bengals. It was because the Steelers have just two wins and nobody wants to watch them in primetime (probably not even Steelers fans).
The Bengals have eight games left on their 2022 regular-season schedule and a few of those games will not be eligible to be flexed. The Week 17 game against Buffalo would be an easy pick but that game is slated for Monday Night Football, meaning that it can't be moved.
As of now, the Week 13 matchup against Kansas City would not be eligible to be moved either due to the Chiefs hitting their max on primetime games (though there was a report last year that teams could have a maximum of seven primetime games but no one has exceeded that yet). That, of course, could change if the Chiefs have another game moved out of primetime but we'll get to that in a bit.
Here are a few Bengals games that could get flexed.
Week 12 at Titans
The Titans are fresh off an appearance on Sunday Night Football and despite the success they've had in recent years, they don't get a lot of primetime love. Maybe that's because the rest of their division is garbage and they don't have many other true rivals but Bengals-Titans could make sense in primetime. Both teams have winning records and it could be highlighted as a rematch of last year's AFC Divisional Round.
For what it's worth, the current Sunday Night Football game scheduled for Week 12 is Packers vs Eagles. I don't see that one getting flexed even with the Packers not being very good this year. They're a popular team with a well-known quarterback playing the lone undefeated team in the league.
Week 13 vs Chiefs
If the Chiefs don't have any more primetime games swapped out, then this isn't a possibility. Kansas City is slated to play the Broncos on primetime in Week 14 though and does anyone really want to watch that game? I get why it was scheduled initially, as Patrick Mahomes vs Russell Wilson in primetime seemed like a can't-miss opportunity but Wilson has not played well since moving to Denver.
The current Week 13 game for Sunday night is Colts vs Cowboys, which would be a terrible game to put in primetime. This feels like a strong flex candidate but it can only happen if the Chiefs' Week 14 primetime matchup against Denver is moved to earlier in the day.
Week 15 at Buccaneers
I highly doubt this happens considering how poorly the Buccaneers have played this season but it'd be hard for the NFL not to move Tom Brady into primetime. This will be the first (and potentially last) time we see Joe Burrow and Brady go head-to-head and that is a quarterback matchup that people want to see.
Patriots vs Raiders is the current matchup scheduled for Sunday night in Week 15. That is not an ideal game to put in primetime.
Week 18 vs Ravens
The final Sunday night game of the regular season is always left vacant until we have a more clear picture as to what the playoff scenarios look like. Usually, the NFL picks a game that could determine who wins the division or if a team can get in as a wild card.
For instance, last year, the Raiders and Chargers game was picked because both teams had a chance to make the postseason as wild cards. If the AFC North hasn't been decided by Week 18 and the Bengals have a chance to win it in the final game of the season, this will be an obvious game to pick for the "game of the week".
Which of these games would you like to see played under the lights?