The combined winning percentage by the Bengals 2008 opposition, which includes how our results against them, is smoking tough .550. We played (and lost) seven games in which the opposing team finished with 11 wins or more (includes both games against Pittsburgh and Baltimore). We played, and lost, to six playoff teams and three division champions. Even if God of the Golden Arms were firing 80-yard passes to Chad Johnson, this season was, by all accounts, tough as nails highlighting the fact that the Bengals played terrible football through much of the season.
Well, before the season started, those teams weren't that good. Our schedule played worse in 2008 than the opponents did coming into the season. In 2007, those same teams we played in 2008, compiled a .553 winning percentage. A .003 percent drop.
After the Bengals jumped the Browns in the standings, next season's opponents are a bit clearer. Including the six games in the AFC North, and the four games against the NFC North, and four games in the AFC West, the Bengals will play the Houston Texans and the New York Jets.
For those of you that don't know, the NFL is based on a formula of rotating divisions within both conferences. The Bengals played the AFC South this year, the AFC East in 2007 and the AFC West in 2006. Since that rotation is completed, the Bengals will face the AFC West in 2009. Yes, that means we'll play the Chiefs for the fifth consecutive season. Same thing applies in the NFC. They played the East this year, the West in 2007, the South in 2006 and the North in 2005. Back to the North. And remember, the Bengals recorded 15 interceptions against three NFC North teams that year -- ironically, none of those teams were the Lions. Along with the yearly six game schedule in your own division, the Bengals would play the remaining two teams that finish in third place (generically speaking, same spot in the final standings) in AFC Divisions they aren't already playing -- this year, it would be the South and the East.
Based on how the teams finished, that would mean we're looking at a schedule of teams that finished 92-116 (.442) in 2008 (even though the Chargers/Broncos have yet to play, it wouldn't change the fact that one team has to win, another has to lose).
In comparison, the Bengals will face a much easier schedule in 2009 than 2008.
Recapping the teams that we'll face next season.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (twice)
- Baltimore Ravens (twice)
- Cleveland Browns (twice)
- Kansas City Chiefs
- San Diego Chargers
- Oakland Raiders
- Denver Broncos
- Houston Texans
- New York Jets
- Detroit Lions
- Green Bay Packers
- Minnesota Vikings
- Chicago Bears