Cincinnati Bengals 2012 schedule breakdown
Not much was expected of the Cincinnati Bengals last season – in fact many expected the club would be one of the worst in the AFC and that it might be Marvin Lewis’ final year as coach. But Cincy had two of the best rookies in the NFL in WR A.J. Green and QB Andy Dalton and the Bengals went 9-7 to earn a wild-card date with Houston, which they lost.
Are biggest things in store in 2012 for Cincinnati?
After not making a prime-time appearance last season, the Bengals were rewarded with three after a surprising run to the playoffs. The last time the Bengals had more prime-time games was 2007, when they had four.
Cincinnati opens the season on Monday night at Baltimore, plays a home Sunday night game against Pittsburgh on Oct. 21 and a Thursday night game at Philadelphia on Dec. 13. The Bengals will open the season on Monday Night Football for the second time in franchise history. The Ravens lead series 18-14. With the Paul Brown Stadium opener coming Sept 16 against Cleveland, it’s the first time since 2007 the Bengals will open the season with two division games.
The Bengals will find out where they stand in the AFC North early — four division games are in the first seven weeks of the season. Cincinnati then goes nine weeks without facing an AFC North team until it finishes at Pittsburgh and home against Baltimore.
Four of the Bengals’ first six games are on the road. But that could also be considered the easy part of the schedule, with only one of those road games against a playoff team from last season. After playing at Baltimore, the Bengals travel to Washington, Jacksonville and Cleveland. If they beat the Ravens, the Bengals realistically can open 6-0.
Dalton gets his first shot at the Manning brothers in back-to-back games when Peyton brings the Broncos in Nov. 4 and Eli arrives the next week on Nov. 11 with his Super Bowl champion Giants. The Bengals have never beaten Peyton Manning in seven tries, but they are 2-2 in their last four games against defending Super Bowl champions, and they roughed up rookie Eli Manning in his only PBS appearance in 2004.
The most shocking part of the Bengals’ schedule is that the return of Carson Palmer to Paul Brown Stadium on Nov. 25 isn’t on national television. While starting 99 games for the Bengals, including two postseason games, Palmer went 27-22 at PBS. The Raiders come in five years to the day he led the Bengals to a PBS rout of Tennessee in which he threw for 283 yards and a 113 rating while throwing three touchdowns to Chad Ochocinco.
WagerWeb.com projected over/under wins total: 7.5
Bengals Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)
Week 1: Monday, Sept. 10, at Baltimore, 7:00 PM
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 16, Cleveland, 1:00 PM
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 23, at Washington, 1:00 PM
Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 30, at Jacksonville, 4:05 PM
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 7, Miami, 1:00 PM
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 14, at Cleveland, 1:00 PM
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 21, Pittsburgh, 8:20 PM
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 4, Denver, 1:00 PM
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 11, NY Giants, 1:00 PM
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 18, at Kansas City, 1:00 PM
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 25, Oakland, 1:00 PM
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 2, at San Diego, 4:15 PM
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 9, Dallas, 1:00 PM
Week 15: Thursday, Dec. 13, at Philadelphia, 8:20 PM
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 23, at Pittsburgh, 1:00 PM
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 30, Baltimore, 1:00 PM