When the 2012 Bengals season schedule was released, all eyes were fixed on when Carson Palmer and the rest of the Oakland Raiders were making their arrival at Paul Brown Stadium. Commencing in the 2011 offseason, the Bengals began a roster purge--some by their choice and others not--but in the long run, it seemed to benefit all parties. With the club playing the AFC West and the AFC North (twice) divisions, as well as the NFC East, the team will be seeing quite a few of familiar faces donning new colors.
in the last calendar week, we've seen former offensive lineman, Bobbie Williams, sign a two-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens, as well as Chad Ochocinco sign a predictable one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins. With these two signings, there is now a pattern emerging in the Bengals' upcoming season schedule.
Related Article: The Must-Watch Bengals Games Of 2012 And Their Storylines
The Bengals face off against their former mainstay on the offensive line in Williams to start off the season on Monday Night Football against the Ravens. It's the first of two divisional matchups and with the departure of Ben Grubbs, it's possible that Williams will be in the starting lineup. The very next week, the Bengals have another divisional game against the Browns and will face the recently-departed Frostee Rucker in the first of the two match ups there as well. Rucker was paid well to leave Cincinnati and will get plenty of playing time against his former mates.
And now, a once-relatively boring game against the Miami Dolphins is suddenly huge headlines. Aside from bringing a brash and fun new angle to HBO's "Hard Knocks", Chad Ochocinco will bring a very interesting storyline to the game in early October. While Bengals fans will likely give him a lukewarm reception upon his return to PBS, all eyes will be fixated on Ochocinco's touchdown celebration, should he get the better of his former team.
The following week will feature a rematch against Rucker and the Browns once again, rounding out a potential fast start in the first month and a half for the Bengals. A couple of weeks later, the Bengals will host the Denver Broncos and their former wide receiver Andre Caldwell. In his four-year Bengals career, Caldwell caught as much flak as he did passes from fans, though he did have a couple of huge catches that will live on in team history. It's very likely that Caldwell will have a prominent role in the Bronco offense with Peyton Manning at the helm and his penchant for using a variety of different receivers.
The very next week (Week 10), the team will host the Super Bowl champion, New York Giants. Aside from the fanfare that comes with hosting a team with that designation, recently-traded linebacker, Keith Rivers, will make his first return to PBS as well. If Rivers is healthy at this point in the season, he should be a starter on the Giants roster and will be charged up to play his former team.
The climax of the 2012 Bengals season will lie with the Week 12 matchup against the Oakland Raiders. While most of these players will get their share of cheers and boos at PBS, there's one player sure to get his share of hate from the Bengals faithful. The once-retired Carson Palmer will face his old team, as well as his two former head coaches in Marvin Lewis and Hue Jackson, and will try and make the Bengals regret their decision for letting him go (even if it was Palmer's wish). After that, there's one more matchup against Williams and the Ravens to round out the season.
In case you lost count, half of the the Bengals' schedule (eight games) are against teams with prominent former Bengals players. What's also interesting here is that the Bengals will host each one of these former players at PBS in 2012. So, if you were wondering if you should get your tickets to a home game this year, you might have a little bit of extra incentive.