A Broader View: Looking Ahead and How the Schedule Favors the Bengals

At the beginning of the season, most people would have agreed that this Bengals team needed to stack wins early and often. The back end of the schedule looked daunting with matchups against the Chargers, 49ers, Ravens, Chiefs and Browns in five of the last seven games. Hardly a cakewalk.

A few weeks into the season, fans might have felt better about the last few games with the 49ers not performing and the Chiefs just simply not being the Chiefs, but to be honest those things have since gone out the window. In the blink of an eye, the Chiefs are 7-4 and San Francisco looks to be finding their identity with two straight wins, the most notable of which came on Monday night last week against the Rams.

So, where the heck is the optimism?

Hold on, baby birds. I'll feed you.

If you're looking for optimism in the upcoming games as a Bengals fan, you don't need to look at upcoming games for the Orange and Black. Rather, look around the division.

Let's start with current division leading Baltimore Ravens.

W12: Cleveland
W13: @ Pittsburgh
W14: @ Cleveland
W15: Green Bay
W16: @ Cincinnati
W17: Los Angeles Rams

W18: Pittsburgh

Three straight divisional games over the next three weeks for the Ravens, and four out of the next five weeks. Every team in the AFC North has an above .500 record. So, if I'm a betting man (which I am) I'm saying they go .500 at best in those 4 games. Add that with games against the Packers and Rams, the Bengals remaining games look a little more friendly.

Now they may be in "last place" in the division, but it isn’t by much y’all. Let’s look at the remaining games for the Cleveland Browns.

W12: @ Baltimore

W13: BYE

W14: Baltimore

W15: Las Vegas

W16: @ Green Bay

W17: @ Pittsburgh

W18: Cincinnati

Let’s face it. Baker is beat up and it is clearly affecting the way he plays. If I oversaw the personnel of the Browns, I would sit Baker this week against Baltimore. Give him two weeks with the upcoming Week 13 Bye to go and try get a win at home week 14 against Baltimore. I’m not sold on the Raiders, so I’m not going to try and convince you that the Browns are going to lose that game. That said, Green Bay, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati will all be tough matchups for the banged-up Browns.

These Steelers, won’t seem to go away, will they? Here’s what Pittsburgh has coming up.

W12: @ Cincinnati

W13: Baltimore

W14: @ Minnesota

W15: Tennessee

W16: @ Kansas City

W17: Cleveland

W18: @ Baltimore

Pittsburgh is also pretty banged up, specifically on defense. I’m looking at this schedule and I don’t think Pittsburgh will be favored in any of these matchups until maybe Week 17 against Cleveland. Got to like those odds if you’re rooting against the Steelers.

See? Look around, folks. This is the NFL. Everyone has battles to finish the season, the Bengals included. But when comparing the remaining schedules, I honestly like the Bengals.

Five of the final seven are at home. Two of those are divisional matchups, two of those are west coast teams (W13: Chargers, W14: San Francisco) coming to the Midwest in December. The Bengals can control their path to the post season, and if you would have told me at the beginning of the season that this is where this team would be, I’d sign up.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan, which is as important as the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors.