The NFL released the preseason schedule on Thursday. Dates and times haven't been announced for every game, but here's a first look at the opponents for the Cincinnati Bengals:
Week 1 (Aug. 11-15) vs. Minnesota Vikings
Comment: In the game that will mark quarterback Andy Dalton's first live action since he broke a thumb in Week 14 of last season, the Bengals will be hosting a few familiar faces. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was the Bengals' defensive coordinator from 2008-2013. Vikings cornerback Terence Newman, and recently signed linebacker Emmanuel Lamur and offensive tackle Andre Smith also spent part of their careers in Cincinnati. Since there is so much familiarity, it will be interesting if the teams try to hold joint practices before the game. The Bengals hosted joint workouts last summer with the Giants, who were coached then by one of Marvin Lewis' longtime friends, Tom Coughlin.
Week 2 (Aug. 18-22) at Detroit Lions
Comment: The Bengals head up Interstate 75 for their second reunion game. There, they will face receiver Marvin Jones and defensive end Wallace Gilberry for the first time since both signed with the Lions in free agency. Although it was their only preseason loss last year, the Bengals' second preseason game of 2015 marked the first time backup quarterback AJ McCarron played in a game since college. He then went on to start the final four regular-season and postseason games last season after Dalton's injury.
Week 3 (8 p.m. ET, Aug. 28) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Comment: For the third straight year, the Bengals will have a preseason game nationally televised in prime time. After traveling to Arizona on a Sunday night in 2014 and then going to Tampa Bay for a Monday night game last year, the Bengals will head to Jacksonville for their second Sunday night contest in three seasons. This is the first time the Bengals and Jaguars will have met in the preseason.
Week 4 (Sept. 1 or 2) vs. Indianapolis Colts
Comment: As has been the case the previous 13 years, the Bengals' preseason slate wraps up with a game against the Colts. Starters typically are rested in this game. That certainly should be the case this year considering the possible four-day window between this game and the one at Jacksonville. The preseason finale is always seen as the last chance for players on the roster's fringes to make a name for themselves.