You may not be able to count on one hand how many times the Cincinnati Bengals play in primetime this upcoming season.
With an imposing list of opponents on the docket, the reigning AFC champions are going to be on more television screens after they played in their first Super Bowl since the 1980s.
We’ll know for sure how many marquee games the Bengals will be playing in when the NFL schedule is released later today. These are the five primetime games we want to feature the Bengals.
Bengals @ New Orleans Saints, Monday Night Football
Now that we know this game won’t be played overseas, it’s the perfect opportunity to put the spotlight on New Orleans for this homecoming affair. Joe Burrow is coming back to LSU country to play in the same stadium where the Tigers won the 2020 National Championship. The Saints have also hosted two Monday night games in each of the last four seasons.
Burrow will be the headliner, but it will be a true homecoming for Louisiana native Ja’Marr Chase. Thaddeus Moss and Tyler Shelvin are also returning to the state as former members of that 2019 squad, and let’s not forget La’el Collins, who played for the Bayuo Bengals from 2011-2014. No matter the date or network the game’s broadcasted on, no other game should be playing while these teams face off.
Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns, Thursday Night Football
The Battle of Ohio will get substantially more interesting with Deshaun Watson taking over at quarterback for Cleveland. Watson’s first career road game was also a Thursday night contest against in Cincinnati back in Week 2 of the 2017 season. This matchup has also been featured on TNF three times in the last eight years.
Unfortunately for the Bengals, it’s been a one-sided affair ever since Zac Taylor assumed the role of head coach in 2019. Taylor’s only defeated his in-state rival once in six tries. Assuming Watson is eligible to play and not serving a suspension, facing his Browns team on a short week would be quite the spectacle for the league.
Bengals @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday afternoon CBS time-slot
Not all primetime games have to be at night. The 4:25 EST games on CBS with Jim Nantz and Tony Romo on the call are usually broadcasted all over the nation. CBS’ A-team calling the first and maybe last duel between Burrow and Tom Brady is too good for them to pass up. They only other times they could face each-other before 2026 would be in the Super Bowl or in 2024 if both teams finish in the same place in their respective divisions in 2023.
The quarterback matchup is enticing on its own, but the Buccaneers represent arguably the toughest team on the Bengals’ schedule. That it’s a road game makes it even more difficult. And if guard revenge games were a thing, we’d throw in the Alex Cappa factor in there as well.
Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday Night Football
Cincinnati clinched a division title and a Super Bowl berth against Kansas City last season in a span of four weeks. The Chiefs were the clear favorites in each contest. The spread should be a lot closer this time around now that the Bengals have proven they can stand with Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid.
While the Bengals are trying to establish themselves as perennial contenders in the AFC, the Chiefs will be on a mission to reminder the league why they should remain at the top. They’ll be especially hungry in this game. Give it the ultimate primetime treatment.
Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens, Sunday Night Football regular season finale
The AFC North is on track to be highly competitive once again, so it only makes sense that Week 18 will probably decide who wins the division. Cincinnati and Baltimore are used to playing each other towards the end of the year, as they played in Week 16 or later in four of the last six seasons. The Ravens will also be out for blood after the Bengals demolished them twice last year.
Unless the injury gods strike the Ravens for the second year in a row, they’ll be in the AFC North title race for the entire year. This game could decide who’s in the playoffs or not. It would be a fantastic end to the 2022 regular season.