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My most anticipated games for the 2023 Bengals season

The Bengals have another loaded schedule after another division-winning campaign.

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

Greetings, Bengals fans!

With the calendar now turned to July, it won’t be long until the Bengals are back in Cincinnati to report for training camp, which begins July 26th.

In the meantime, we’re going to look at some of the biggest games on the Bengals’ 2023 slate.

Now, here is a look at the three games I’m most looking forward to this upcoming season.

3) San Francisco 49ers - Week 8

Personally, I have been waiting for this matchup to happen because Joe Burrow and Brock Purdy are both young, accomplished quarterbacks who play in loaded offenses. Not to mention, the Bengals and the 49ers have similar 2022 records; the Bengals finished the 2022 season with a 12-4 record (first in the AFC North), and the 49ers finished the 2022 season with a 13-4 record (NFC West title). Both teams also had a 10-game winning streak as well last season.

And in 2021, both teams went 10-7, which included the 49ers pulling off an overtime win over the Bengals in Cincinnati. That was the last time these two faced off.

Since this game does not happen right away, is it possible that Purdy may be healthy in time to face Burrow and the Bengals? That could decide who wins this game at San Francisco, though the 49ers’ defense is more than capable of winning a low-scoring game, even against an offense as great as what the Bengals possess.

Speaking of, the 49ers are projected to have one of, if not the best defense in the NFL this season, highlighted by a pass rush that’s racked up 92 sacks over the last two seasons. This will be a great midseason test for the Bengals’ revamped offensive line, which hopes to be a strength this year after being a painful weakness far too often over the last two seasons.

2) Los Angeles Rams - Week 3

Naturally, this matchup is highly anticipated since the Cincinnati Bengals fell to the Los Angeles Rams 23-20 in Super Bowl LVI. Coming off of that Super Bowl, the Bengals had a great 2022 season (12-4), but the same can’t be said about the Rams (5-12). The Rams dealt with many player injuries last season, including quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Cooper Kupp (Super Bowl LVI MVP). However, it’s looking like both players will be back healthy next season, so this will be a matchup to watch.

This will also be a good early-season test for the Bengals’ offensive line, being that the Rams feature arguably the NFL’s best defensive tackle in Aaron Donald.

1) Baltimore Ravens - Weeks 2 & 11

With quarterback Lamar Jackson staying as a Raven for the foreseeable future, these will certainly be games to watch. I wrote a previous article for Cincy Jungle that analyzed which teams are the Bengals’ toughest competition, and I did not put the Ravens on that list; at that time, Jackson’s future in Baltimore was unclear, but now Jackson is staying in Baltimore for the next five years.

Both teams have been acquiring talented players this offseason, so this will certainly be a matchup to see this fall. Burrow’s overall record against the Ravens is 4-2, including the playoffs. However, only one victory came against Jackson (2021 at Baltimore). In head-to-head meetings, Jackson is actually 2-1 vs. Burrow, but both wins were at Baltimore. Jackson has yet to face Burrow in Cincinnati.

If Jackson can stay healthy all season, the Ravens should be the Bengals’ biggest challenger for the AFC North and the right to host at least one playoff game.

What matchups are you looking forward to the most this fall? Let me know in the comments!