Dates and times for most non-national games won't be finalized until later, but the Cincinnati Bengals now know their preseason opponents and when those games will be played. Cincinnati will host the New York Giants (Week 1) and Chicago Bears (Week 3), while being featured on a Monday Night game against the Buccaneers (Week 2) and the usual preseason finale against the Colts (Week 4).
"We’re pleased to have home dates against two of the NFL’s most traditional and best-known franchises," said Katie Blackburn, Bengals executive vice-president, "and it is always a plus in preseason to have the experience of a national TV game." In the 2015 preseason, the Bengals will be preparing their bid for a fifth straight trip to the playoffs. The Bengals are one of only four NFL teams to make the playoffs each of the last four years.
Week 1: v the New York Giants. The preseason opener will place anywhere between Aug. 13-17 and will mark the second time in the last nine years that the Bengals held a preseason opener at home. New York, who has only played one preseason game in Cincinnati (1993), leads the preseason series against the Bengals, 3-0.
Week 2: at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bengals will head to Tampa Bay for an August 24 meeting on Monday Night Football on ESPN (this is the only known preseason date). This could also become the nation's introduction with quarterback Jameis Winston... "could be." The last time that the Bengals played the Buccaneers during the preseason was 2004 -- a preseason opening 6-20 loss.
Week 3: v the Chicago Bears: Cincinnati's second (and final) preseason home game against the Bears between the dates of Aug. 27-31. The teams have not met in preseason since 2001, and the last Bears preseason visit to the Queen City, on Aug. 19, 2000, was the first Bengals game at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won, 24-20.
Week 4: at the Indianapolis Colts. And then the preseason concludes with its annual I-74 finale against the Indianapolis Colts -- this year the game will be played in Indianapolis. The Bengals and Colts have played the preseason finale every year throughout Marvin Lewis' tenure in Cincinnati and this will be the 23rd meeting in the last 24 years. This game will be played either on Sept. 3 or Sept 4.
One (completely awesome) scenario that emerged during the offseason is that since the league announced the suspension of their blackout policy, preseason home games, which are hardly ever sold out, will be shown live -- rather than on tape delay at 11:35 p.m. (or 11:00 p.m. in Dayton).