Week 2 vs. Baltimore Ravens
Oh man, starting the season off against two divisional opponents is a brutal blow for a Bengals team that has been a second-half team. This will be the home opener for Cincinnati and the first time the Ravens will be back at Paycor Stadium since narrowly losing to the stripes in the Wild Card round last January.
With the Bengals already in an 0-1 hole after falling to the Browns in Week 1 (at least per my predictions), this is a must-win for Cincinnati. Yes, a Week 2 game is a must-win affair. The Bengals get it done, but narrowly.
Prediction: 34-31 Bengals
Week 3 vs. Los Angeles Rams (MNF)
A rematch of Super Bowl LVI will take place in the Bengals’ home stadium this time and fans will be itching for the right result in the rematch. Of course, this game won’t be bigger than the Super Bowl was but it’ll briefly make the loss sting a little less.
The Rams had a massive Super Bowl hangover in 2022 but injuries were to blame for that. If Matthew Stafford is healthy, they’ll be much better this season but that won’t be enough to get them past the stripes.
This should be a fun game for Monday Night Football and while a primetime game early in the season worries me a bit considering how slow the Bengals have started, they get the job done here.