If memory serves me correctly, which is similar to taking a ride on the world's most dangerous roller coaster, mostly every game between the Sam Wyche and Marvin Lewis era kicked off with a 1 PM start on Sunday afternoons, save for West Coast games that naturally start after 4 PM. Sometimes the Bengals would get a Sunday night game but there were definitely no Monday Night games.
And much like the old days, this year the Bengals will face 1 PM Sunday afternoon starts this year, save for two west coast games and a trip to Tennessee -- which we figure is CBS' single regional coverage game of the week.
Speaking of history, we'll break down this year's schedule in segments with a strong emphasis on the Bengals relationship to history against the teams they're facing this year.
|WEEK 1 (September 11) - BENGALS AT BROWNS|
The last time the Bengals opened the regular season in Cleveland was September 11, 2005. Carson Palmer posted 280 yards passing against the Browns and Rudi Johnson recorded 126 yards rushing on the ground. Cincinnati's 27-13 win kicked off a magical 11-5 season that would end when Kimo Von Oelhoffen crashed into Palmer's knee early during Cincinnati's Wild Card game. Some will obviously point to this moment as the beginning of the end to Palmer's confidence throwing the football in a hostile pocket.
Most optimistic folk will point out two things. One, the Bengals tend to do better during odd-numbered years, which includes two playoffs trips. Two, the last time the Bengals faced the Browns, they went to the playoffs, baby! This is one of those examples where we'd be giddy if history repeated itself.
If there's a team that Cincinnati starts the season with, the Browns is as good a matchup as any. The Bengals have won ten of their previous 13 meetings and currently lead the Browns in the all-time series with a regular season record of 39-36.
|WEEK 2 (September 18) - BENGALS AT BRONCOS|
Remember the last time these two teams met? Yea, you do. Down 6-7 with 28 seconds remaining in the 2009 season opener, Kyle Orton takes the shotgun snap from the Broncos 13-yard line. Orton heaves the pass down the left sidelines, targeting the team's best wide receiver in Brandon Marshall. Leon Hall tipped the pass while safeties Roy Williams and Chris Crocker looked to punish Marshall just in case he caught the pass. Brandon Stokley was apparently the only player paying any attention to the football floating into the air, cradling the football and easily outrunning Dhani Jones for the game-winning touchdown. The Bengals would go on to win 10 games that season and the AFC North title.
Unfortunately, Cincinnati's Week Two visit isn't favored through history. The last time the Bengals beat the Broncos in Denver was in 1975, losing eight games since including the heart-breaking botched snap in 2006 that gave the Bengals a 23-24 loss. Win that game, and the Bengals would have made the playoffs. They collapsed the following week against the Pittsburgh Steelers and missed the post-season.
|WEEK 3 (September 25) - 49ERS AT BENGALS|
The history between the Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers runs deep. San Francisco's legendary head coach Bill Walsh, at one time an assistant to Paul Brown, was looked over for the head coaching job when Brown decided to retire. Eventually Walsh became the 49ers head coach and beat the Bengals in Super Bowl XVI and XXIII. In fact, the Bengals never beat a Walsh-led San Francisco team.
Currently the 49ers own the Bengals, at one point winning nine of the first ten meetings dating back to the first meeting in 1974.
On the bright side, the Bengals will host the 49ers, during Cincinnati's regular season home opener, where the Bengals have won two straight, scoring 40 points or more in each win.
|WEEK 4 (October 2) - BILLS AT BENGALS|
This is one of those games where Bengals fans might write an easy victory for.
The Bengals haven't beaten the Bills since the team's 1988 Super Bowl run, losing ten consecutive games. And when the Bengals built a 31-14 lead by half time during last year's meeting, the Bills scored 35 points and beat the Bengals by 18 point.
Cincinnati's ten-game losing streak hasn't even been close. Save for the team's 16-22 overtime loss in 2003, the Bengals have lost every game by an average of 15 points.