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Cincinnati Bengals 2021 Schedule Breakdown
In the first 17-game NFL season, the Cincinnati Bengals will hope to snap their five-season drought and return to the postseason for the first time since the 2015 season. At the very least, they are hoping to avoid a fourth straight year of finishing in last place in the AFC North.
Here is a look at Cincinnati’s 2021 schedule, along with some of the key games and other observations.
Week 1: Sep. 12 vs. Minnesota Vikings - 1:00 PM (FOX)
Week 2: Sep. 19 at Chicago Bears - 1:00 PM (FOX)
Week 3: Sep. 26 at Pittsburgh Steelers - 1:00 PM (CBS)
Week 4: Sep. 30 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (TNF) - 8:20 PM (NFLN)
Week 5: Oct. 10 vs. Green Bay Packers - 1:00 PM (FOX)
Week 6: Oct. 17 at Detroit Lions - 1:00 PM (FOX)
Week 7: Oct. 24 at Baltimore Ravens - 1:00 PM (CBS)
Week 8: Oct. 31 at New York Jets - 1:00 PM (CBS)
Week 9: Nov. 7 vs. Cleveland Browns - 1:00 PM (CBS)
Week 10: BYE
Week 11: Nov. 21 at Las Vegas Raiders - 4:05 PM (CBS)
Week 12: Nov. 28 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers - 1:00 PM (CBS)
Week 13: Dec. 5 vs. Los Angeles Chargers - 1:00 PM (FOX)
Week 14: Dec. 12 vs. San Francisco 49ers - 1:00 PM (CBS)
Week 15: Dec. 19 at Denver Broncos - 4:05 PM (CBS)
Week 16: Dec. 26 vs. Baltimore Ravens - 1:00 PM (CBS)
Week 17: Jan. 2 vs. Kansas City Chiefs - 1:00 PM (CBS)
Week 18: Jan. 9 at Cleveland Browns - 1:00 PM (CBS)
Week 2 at Chicago - The Bengals will head to Soldier Field for their first road game of the year, going up against one of the top defenses in the league. However, lots of intrigue lies on which quarterback Cincy will face this week; former Bengal Andy Dalton or Ohio State rookie Justin Fields.
Week 3 at Pittsburgh - The Bengals and Steelers played a pair of fun games last season, as the rivalry will continue early on in 2021. Pittsburgh will hope to rid themselves of the bad taste of Cincinnati, led by Ryan Finley, beating them in Week 15.
Week 4 vs Jacksonville - In Cincy’s only primetime game, the last two first overall picks will go head-to-head at Paul Brown Stadium. The rivalry between Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence goes back to their college days when Burrow and LSU defeated Lawrence and Clemson in the College Football Championship in 2020.
Week 7 at Baltimore - You can throw in Week 16 as well, but the Bengals will have their hands full when they take on the Ravens. In two games against Baltimore last year, one of which had Burrow throwing a career-low 183 yards, Cincy was outscored 65 to six, so revenge is certainly on the mind for these games.
Week 17 vs. Kansas City - The back-to-back AFC champs come to Cincinnati in the second-to-last week of the season. The Bengals are hoping their young offense can keep up with the Chiefs in the points department in what could be one of their highest-scoring games of the season.
Week 18 at Cleveland - While the Bengals and Browns play for the first time in Week 9 before Cincy’s bye week, the final game of this long season is as intriguing as it gets. The Browns may very well be playing this game with a postseason appearance or division title on the line, while the Bengals could sink their chances and end their year on a huge note.
Lack of primetime games - While their in-state rival is taking part in multiple nationally-televised games in 2021, the Bengals have just one primetime game scheduled, a Thursday night Week 4 matchup against the Jaguars. It’s one less than last season when in addition to the automatic Thursday game, Cincy hosted and beat the Steelers on Monday night football in Week 15.
Strength of schedule - Cincinnati’s 17 opponents, finished 2020 with a combined record of 144-128. That is a winning percentage of .529, giving the Bengals the sixth-toughest schedule in 2021. The good news, however, is that both the Steelers and Ravens have tougher schedules, with the Browns not too far behind with the ninth-toughest.
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