The NFL has released its 2017 regular-season schedule. Here’s a look at what’s in store for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Breakdown: The Bengals had their first losing season since 2010, and it showed in terms of national interest. Cincinnati has only two prime-time games this season, hosting the Texans on Thursday night in Week 2 and the Steelers on Monday Night Football in Week 13. The Steelers will be another tough opponent this year, and the road to the AFC North likely will go through them.
The Bengals get an early bye (Oct. 15), but the schedule favors them with three home games before the bye. The schedule gets tough late, with a trip to Pittsburgh on Oct. 22 and three straight road games from Nov. 5 to Nov. 19. But with the Cowboys and Patriots off the slate this year, it already looks like an easier schedule than 2016.
Home again, finally: The Bengals specifically put in a request to open at home, and for good reason. Because the NFL also has to accommodate the Reds' schedule, the Bengals have been stuck playing on the road to open the season every year since 2009. The Bengals will open the season against division rival Baltimore, but getting a good start at home could define how the season goes. Barring any injuries, they'll have Tyler Eifert and Vontaze Burfict back to kick off the season. The Bengals lost two games in September last year.
This is the first time the Bengals will start with two home games since 1983.
November road woes: November is a brutal stretch for the Bengals, who will have to play three straight games on the road at the Jaguars, Titans and Broncos. The Bengals rarely play at Denver, but they have never won there in the regular season. The Broncos boast a formidable pass rush, and it might be the toughest test Cincinnati's new-look offensive line will face. If the Bengals can get out of November with just one loss, it would be impressive.
Strength of schedule: 29th, .449
Bengals Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 10, Baltimore, 1 p.m.
Week 2: Thursday, Sept. 14, Houston, 8:25 p.m.
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 24, at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m.
Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 1, at Cleveland, 1 p.m.
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 8, Buffalo, 1 p.m.
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 22, at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 29, Indianapolis, 1 p.m.
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 5, at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 12, at Tennessee, 1 p.m.
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 19, at Denver, 4:25 p.m.
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 26, Cleveland, 1 p.m.
Week 13: Monday, Dec. 4, Pittsburgh, 8:30 p.m.
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 10, Chicago, 1 p.m.
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 17, at Minnesota, 1 p.m.
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 24, Detroit, 1 p.m.
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 31, at Baltimore, 1 p.m.