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Bengals vs. Patriots: Milestones to break on Sunday Night Football

The Cincinnati Bengals have an opportunity to break several milestones when the team squares off against the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Since the Bengals began winning in 2011, we've been keeping track of Cincinnati's milestone successes... from beating the Jaguars in Jacksonville for the first time since 1994, to beating the Buffalo Bills (anywhere) since 1988. Throughout the Andy Dalton and A.J. Green era, the Bengals have been knocking down milestones like bowlers swinging perfect games.

There are a few more that could be reached on Sunday.

Coming off a bye week
During the Marvin Lewis era, the Cincinnati Bengals are 4-7 in games after a bye week. Yet, as characteristic of Lewis' improving tenure (aka, things have gotten better and better the longer that he's stayed), the Bengals are 3-2-1 after a bye week since 2008 and have won two of the past three games -- a 34-12 win over the Seattle Seahawks in '11 and a 17-10 win over the Chargers in '13 (NOTE: The Bengals have never won the first game following a bye week in consecutive seasons).

The tie was Cincinnati's 13-13 tie against the Philadelphia Eagles in '08 and the most recent loss was a 23-31 defeat against Denver.

Cincinnati hasn't had a bye week at the week four point during Lewis' tenure but have had three week five byes. In those games, the bengals are 0-3. That's a completely meaningless statistic, so we move on.

Winning the game post-bye week in consecutive seasons
Speaking of history not mattering, the Bengals can reach a milestone on Sunday with a win.

Here's it goes: The NFL instituted a "bye week" during the 1990 season. And according to my spreadsheet and 24 tabs in Google Chrome, the Bengals have never won the first game following a bye week in consecutive seasons... ever. Not even in '93 when the league gave each team two bye weeks in a season -- the Bengals lost 10 straight to start the season that year.

Because the Bengals beat San Diego coming out of the bye last year, if Cincinnati beats New England on Sunday Night Football, history will have been made.

Bengals in New England
Even though the Bengals defeated the Patriots last season in Cincinnati, the Bengals haven't won a game in New England since beating the Patriots on Dec. 7, 1986 -- marred in a five-game losing streak.

Dating back to Cincinnati's inaugural season in '68, the Bengals have played 10 games in New England (including one in Boston) and have only won twice ('86 and '72). One game that was scheduled in 1982 was cancelled due to the player's strike.

Sunday Night Football
Since NBC took over in '06, the Cincinnati Bengals have played four games on Sunday Night Football (during the regular season)... losing all four. They've lost three times to the Steelers ('13, '12, '07) and once to the Jets ('09). When ESPN hosted Sunday Night Football, the Bengals lost their final game on that network (pre-MNF) in '05 (to the Jaguars).

You have to go back to 2004 when the Bengals last won on Sunday Night Football... a 16-13 win over the Miami Dolphins. Or Carson Palmer's first regular season win in his epic NFL career.

That's five straight Sunday Night appearances that have resulted in losses since Cincinnati's last win... ten years ago.