The Cincinnati Bengals are coming off another amazing season, having fallen short of the big stage, the Bengals are continuing to try to gain the league’s respect. For the 2023 season, the Bengals will have to face off against the NFC West and AFC South for their division rotation. With the NFC having gotten one extra home game last season, the AFC will now get an extra home game, leaving Cincinnati with an extra home game for their 2023 season. There is speculation that the Bengals could be playing Internationally given some of their opponents, but for now, it is unknown how many primetime games they will receive, if they will play Internationally, and if they will be given a holiday game.
The Cincinnati Bengals home and away schedule is broken down to the following,
Los Angeles Rams
San Francisco 49ers
Kansas City Chiefs
The Cincinnati Bengals will be facing a division that had only one team make it over .500, which is the AFC South. Considering the position of each team being in rebuild mode, including the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Bengals should be able to sweep the entire division. The AFC South has three teams who have uncertainty at the quarterback position, which is why I say they should be able to sweep the entire division, but the record against backup quarterbacks for the Bengals is not favorable if it comes down to that. As for the NFC West, the Bengals have some bad blood within that division, having to face two teams who have now beaten them in their three Super Bowl appearances, one being very recent, the Los Angeles Rams.
Depending on when the Bengals face off against the Arizona Cardinals, they will either be playing against Kyler Murray or not. As for the Rams, they are continuing to rebuild after their disastrous Super Bowl hangover from the 2022 season, I expect the Bengals to have leverage with their defense this time. As for the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks, the Bengals always keep it interesting when facing the 49ers, I would expect this game to be on primetime television, but for the Seahawks, this is an interesting matchup, especially if Geno Smith is still the expected quarterback. I expect the Bengals to be 3-1 against the NFC West, falling to the 49ers in what could be an epic matchup. No matter who the 49ers quarterback is, the defense in San Francisco could be one huge test against what looks like a revamped offensive line for Cincy.
The non-division opponents the Bengals have to face are the Chiefs, Titans, Vikings, and Bills. I expect half of the games to be primetime, as the Bengals-Chiefs matchup is always must-see television, and since it is an away game, expect this to be a bloody battle between two fan bases, and teams that seem to dislike each other now. With it being an away game for Cincinnati, this will be the first time Joe Burrow plays in Arrowhead Stadium in the regular season, so I do give a slight advantage to the Chiefs here. I do expect Burrow and the Bengals to bring their A-game, especially after how the 2022 AFC Championship Game ended. As for the Bills, the unfortunate tragedy of Damar Hamlin on Monday Night Football led to an incredible Divisional Game matchup, even though the Bengals mauled the Bills that day, I expect this game to be a back and forth game. The Buffalo Bills are notoriously good in the regular season, and depending on how early this matchup is, we could see two powerhouse offenses in it. With it being a home game for the Bengals, I give the advantage to Cincinnati, especially after going into Buffalo’s house and practically embarrassing the Bills, the Bengals will be looking to protect their Jungle.
As for the Titans and Vikings, the last time the Bengals faced the Vikings, they won off an Evan McPherson game winning field goal in Week One of the 2021 season, as McPherson is a popular name when facing both the Titans and Vikings, I expect this time he gets to watch the Bengals score more touchdowns. However, as the Vikings have Justin Jefferson who is the main source to the Vikings entire team, it’ll be interesting to see who matches up with Jefferson. The Titans are in a unique rebuild, as they have Ryan Tannehill and Malik Willis, but their main offensive scheme is to just let Derrick Henry run. With a dominant defensive line for the Bengals, I expect the Bengals to shut down the Titans again.
As for the AFC North, the Bengals had quite an interesting 2022 season against their division rivals. Having split against all three teams, unlike the previous season where they swept the Steelers and Ravens. However, one thing that was different in 2022 is the Bengals actually beat the Browns once. With newly acquired quarterback Deshaun Watson, the Browns will see whether their big contract was worth it or not, as the Bengals got humiliated on Halloween night, but avenged their humiliation by being all over Watson and Nick Chubb the second time. The Steelers managed to never have a losing season under head coach Mike Tomlin, again, and after a very weird Week One loss in 2022 to the Steelers, the Bengals managed to make sure it was just a fluke and gave a nice welcome to rookie Kenny Pickett.
The Baltimore Ravens had to face the Bengals three times in 2022, having won off a Justin Tucker field goal in the first game. Then losing in Week 17 to an extremely frustrated Bengals team, and lastly, letting Sam Hubbard take it 98-yards down the field for basically a game ending touchdown in the Wild Card matchup. With the Ravens having to deal with the Lamar Jackson issue, who even knows if Jackson will be in Baltimore by the start of the 2023 season, but for now, he is. Predicting that he is still a Raven by the time the Bengals play the Ravens, I expect the Ravens to split with the Bengals, as the Ravens always play the Bengals extremely tough, and there really is just bad blood between the two. As for Pittsburgh and Cleveland, the Bengals should be able to take care of business and sweep the two.
Based on these predictions, I’m basically saying the Bengals should lose two games in the 2023 season, but in reality that most likely won’t be the outcome. On any given Sunday, a team can show up and shock a superior team, but with the NFL Draft, free agency, and many more to still come, it really isn’t unrealistic to say the Bengals will have very few losses in 2023.