The NFL loves games where players and coaches get to face off against their former teams. The Bengals' 2016 schedule features plenty of this kind of action, making for some exciting matchups that are sure to pique the interest of casual viewers and hardcore fans alike.
Say what you want about Marvin Lewis' tenure with the Bengals, but you can't deny that he knows how to find coaching talent. Some of the best matchups this year include the team going up against coaches formerly under his regime who have moved on to bigger and better things.
Some of the best matchups this year include:
Preseason Week 1
Bengals vs Vikings
The Bengals kick of the preseason hosting former defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Along with him, the Vikings' roster includes Andre Smith, Terence Newman, and Emmanuel Lamur. They're unlikely to see much of Newman in the first preseason game, but Smith and Lamur still need to solidify their place on the team and will likely see more playing time than you might otherwise expect.
Preseason Week 2
Bengals at Lions
The only player currently on the Bengals' roster who used to play for the Lions is Cedric Peerman, who spent most of the 2009 season on their practice squad and active roster. However, there are two particular players on the Lions who might be excited to face off against their former team. Those players are Marvin Jones and Wallace Gilberry. Both players left this offseason to pursue new opportunities. In their first game out of Bengals stripes, they'll still be surrounded by them.
Regular Season Week 6
Bengals at Patriots
Brandon LaFell will probably love this opportunity to show his old team exactly why they shouldn't have cut him. He spent two decent years with the Patriots, putting up the best season of his career in 2014. However, problems with dropped passes and consistency in the passing game led to his eventual release. He joined the Bengals to continue winning, but the fact that the Bengals play the Patriots this year probably didn't hurt his decision.
Regular Season Week 7 & 14
Bengals vs Browns, Bengals at Browns
These games are going to be interesting. You can probably guess that the big matchup here is Hue Jackson facing off against his old team and his former head coach. He didn't have a chance to face off against the Bengals when he left to be the Raiders' head coach back in 2011, so you can bet he'll relish the opportunity to face off against them twice this time around. In addition to Jackson, the Bengals will be up against former Bengal, Andrew Hawkins, potentially Terrell Watson. On the Bengals side, Karlos Dansby will be playing against the team he spent the last two seasons with.
Regular Season Week 8
Bengals vs Redskins
There's a lot going into why this game is such a big deal. First of all, let's get the obvious part out of the way and point out that this game is taking place in London, yet the Bengals are considered to be the "home" team. However you want to look at that, it's probably going to be one of the most watched games of the season, despite starting at 9:30 in the morning. Furthermore, don't forget that this game will mark the first time that Jay Gruden's Redskins have played the Bengals since he left to be the head coach in the 2014 offseason. It's been a little while since last these two met, so it's sure to provide some interesting fireworks for the good people of London. Jim Haslett and Jacob Burney will also have a chance to face off against a team from whom they used to coach.
Regular Season Week 15
Bengals vs Steelers
Any time the Bengals play the Steelers, there's a good chance that it'll be a spectacle for everyone, not just fans of these two particular teams. Given the recent bad blood between the franchises, this Sunday night matchup is sure to ruffle a few feathers. However, there is one particular reunion that should be addressed here. That's the return of Vontaze Burfict to face the Steelers after being suspended for his hit on Antonio Brown late in the Wild Card round of last year's playoff game. You can bet that King Tez is going to want to have a game to remember, for all the right reasons, this time around.