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Bengals Have More To Worry About Than Prime Time Games

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Let's check the recently released NFL schedule. A fine tooth comb in our left hand, a black light in our right. Knuckles are cracked and the steam from the mandatory evening coffee twisting around the editor's desk next to the rainy breeze flicking the curtains.

One has to wonder, is this really a surprise? Are you that surprised? The opponents we've known for years, as are the sites where the games are being played. It's a measure of expectations that's lacking anxiety prompting the observer in me to simply shrug my shoulders. No face palm. No epic rant. No drunken phone calls to ex-girlfriends (my bad, Stacy).

No Monday or Sunday night games. Expected, considering that Bengals finished 4-12 in 2010. If the Bengals fans won't sell out Paul Brown Stadium, why would networks want to risk their ratings with Cincinnati football? Not even a Thursday night game. The Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco affect is gone. One is disgruntled, both want to leave. The flashy passing game that hasn't existed since 2007 has run its course. We're back to basics.

Being nationally showcased doesn't sit in our minds. Sure, we'd love to see our team play a night game. At least we wouldn't be known as the team without a national game, which usually translates to not playing well the year before.

There's more to worry about than that. A climax was reached in 2005, a second-wind in 2009. Now we're consumed with the desperate rebuilding of an organization. New quarterback. New receivers. Maybe even a new running back. Aging defensive players mixed with enthusiastic rookies. An unknown period with so many directions presented to us. That's anxiety you feel, not fear.

Being left out this year from a national game? Not that big of a deal. We have more things on our minds.