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Bengals Schedule 2024: Match-Ups To Watch

WEB-24Schedule(16x9)FINAL_WPreseason

SEPT 8: vs New England, 1 p.m. CBS:

In their first NFL opener at home against the Patriots since 2001 (the last one not started by Tom Brady for the next 18 seasons), the Bengals get the Pats in their first post-Bill Belichick game. The Bengals also get rookie quarterback Drake Maye, the first time they get a rookie making his debut on Opening Day since Joe Flacco in Baltimore in 2008.

(If the Pats cross the Concord Bridge to get to Maye, the Bengals would face the estimable nine-year journeyman backup Jacoby Brissett, 1-1 in NFL openers and 1-1 against the Bengals.)

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Maye, tutored by old Bengals quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt, would have the unenviable task of making his debut against a defense playing its sixth straight year with the same coordinator. It's also the first game back for the maestro of that defense after a year hiatus. It was safety Vonn Bell who saved the game the last time the teams met on Christmas Eve 2022 when he forced a fumble on his five with 65 seconds left to preserve a 22-18 win.

WEEK 1 · Sun 09/08 · 1:00 PM EDT

Patriots

New England Patriots

Paycor Stadium

SEPT. 15 at Kansas City, 4:25 p.m. CBS:

For the sixth straight time in the last four seasons, Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes duel in a national television window. Two of the games have decided the AFC title and two others have decided division championships.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: When the Chiefs started what amounted to a pair of field-goal drives from their own 9 as they erased last year's 10-point lead in a 25-18 win, Mahomes flipped the field on the Bengals with two bombs to wide receivers Rashee Rice and Justin Watson. While the Chiefs drafted another speedster in the first round last month with the selection of 40-yard scouting combine record-holder Xavier Worthy, the Bengals also made a big move to shore up their secondary when they moved another combine speedster, Dax Hill, from safety to cornerback.

SEPT. 23 WASHINGTON 8:15 p.m. ABC:

Talk about karma. It is 12 years to the day the Bengals went to Washington and stunned the crowd on wide receiver Mohamed Sanu's 73-yard rainbow dime for a touchdown to A.J. Green on the first snap of a game they won by hitting rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III a total of 14 times. It's the first time Washington has been in Cincy since the Bengals won a 2008 game with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing and running for a touchdown each.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Like Griffin, Daniels is the second pick in the draft. Like Maye, he'll be faced with defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo's scheme that has repped six years of practices games. He'll need help from fellow rookie Luke McCaffrey, a third-rounder and, at the moment, the only wide receiver expected to contribute to the Commanders taller than six feet. Burrow is also hoping to get help from another third-round receiver in Jermaine Burton, taken 20 picks ahead of McCaffrey.

WEEK 3 · Mon 09/23 · 8:15 PM EDT

Commanders

Washington Commanders

Paycor Stadium

SEPT. 29 at Carolina, 1 p.m. FOX:

Burrow makes his ninth start against a fellow No. 1 drafted overall quarterback in the Panthers' Bryce Young. He's 4-4 with wins over Matthew Stafford. Jared Goff, Baker Mayfield, and Trevor Lawrence. Stafford beat Burrow in their Super Bowl classic of two years ago and Mayfield got him three times with the Browns.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: The Bengals pounded the Panthers two years ago when running back Joe Mixon ran for 153 yards and scored a franchise-record five touchdowns. He's no longer here, but the Panthers lost their standout linebackers in Brian Burns and Frankie Luvu over the offseason and they're going to have to deal with the Bengals' back-by-committee spearheaded by sophomore speedster Chase Brown and vet free agent Zach Moss. They'll face a third-round linebacker in Kentucky rookie Trevin Wallace.

OCT. 6 vs Baltimore 1 P.M. CBS:

A power meeting. The teams have won the last three AFC North titles and been to two of the last three AFC title games. The last two games at Paycor have been decided in the fourth quarter in a series always decided by takeaways. Burrow's last two full games against Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson have resulted in three-point losses, one at the gun.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: A big reason the Ravens won at Paycor early last season, 27-24, is because Burrow had the Bengals driving for a go-ahead touchdown on the opening series of the second half on a second-and-eight from the Baltimore 17 when the game changed on the next two snaps. Burrow, who threw only one red-zone interception in 2022, got one here when Ravens safety Geno Stone ranged to the middle of the field in front of Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins at the 2 and on the next play Jackson hit Zay Flowers for a 52-yard pass that set up a touchdown and the Ravens' 10-point lead. Stone went on to lead the AFC with seven interceptions and then signed with the Bengals back in March to make plays like the first one and prevent plays like the second one.

WEEK 5 · Sun 10/06 · 1:00 PM EDT

Ravens

Baltimore Ravens

Paycor Stadium

OCT. 13 at Giants 8:20 p.m. NBC:

Sunday Night Football in the Big Apple. The last time they were in Met Life Stadium in 2016 playing the Giants, Eli Manning beat them with a fourth-quarter comeback on Monday night. The Bengals have yet to beat the Giants at home, stretching from Manning's winning three-yard flip to Sterling Shepard that night to their first road game in the series, when two Jeff Blake touchdown passes to Carl Pickens wasn't enough in 1994.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: On this night two former great LSU wide receivers take Odell Beckham Jr.'s old Broadway stage when the Bengals' Ja'Marr Chase and Giants rookie Malik Nabers suit up. Either can break a game open and Chase, the fifth pick in the 2021 draft, has shattered plenty as a three-time Pro Bowler. Nabers didn't win the Biletnikoff Award or win a national title like Chase did in Baton Rouge. But he did lead the nation in yards and he was the sixth pick in the draft.

OCT. 20 at Cleveland 1 p.m. CBS:

Burrow is looking for his first win on the Lake. Talk about Pittsburgh and Baltimore, but the AFC North may run through upstate for the Bengals. In the Burrow era, they have two wins against the Browns, but four each against Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: The Achilles' heel for the Bengals in the series has been the tremendous rushing days from Nick Chubb. Chubb is coming off ACL surgery, but his career yards per rush vs. the Bengals is five in ten games in which the Browns are 8-2. A big factor has been the great offensive line coach Bill Callahan, but he's gone. So it's a new look in the trenches with the Bengals replacing nose tackle DJ Reader with two big rookies they covet in second-rounder Kris Jenkins and third-rounder McKinnley Jackson.

OCT. 27 vs Philadelphia, 4:25 p.m. CBS:

Two quarterbacks from the 2020 class with a conference championship under their belt face off for the first time when Burrow meets Jalen Hurts and his 25-7 record over the last two seasons. It's also the Bengals' first game ever against new Eagles running back Saquon Barkley, one of the league's best dual threats in his seventh season.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Hurts and Barkley are formidable foes for Bengals linebackers Germaine Pratt and Logan Wilson, but Philly's best offseason move may have been hiring Vic Fangio as defensive coordinator. In his one meeting against Fangio in a key 2021 matchup in Denver, Bengals head coach and play caller Zac Taylor called a terrific game against Fangio's notorious two-high scheme that takes away the deep stuff and Burow responded with a patiently brilliant 15 of 22 winning effort. Keep an eye out for new Bengals tight end Mike Gesicki underneath in this one. He played against Fangio's scheme in New England against the Dolphins last season and had seven catches in two games.

WEEK 8 · Sun 10/27 · 1:00 PM EDT

Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles

Paycor Stadium

NOV. 3 vs Las Vegas 1 p.m. FOX:

Marvin Lewis, the winningest head coach in Bengals history, returns to Paycor Stadium for the first time on the other side as the assistant to Raiders head coach Antonio Pierce. Nine years to the week at Paycor, Lewis' Bengals beat the Browns, 31-10, to become the first AFC North team to start 8-0. The last time Lewis was an opponent here, the Bengals beat his Super Bowl Champion Ravens defense in 2001.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: The Raiders may be trying to figure out who the quarterback is (Aidan O'Connell, Gardner Minshew II?), but they had mojo with Pierce going 5-4 to end the season with an improving defense they turned into dangerous when they signed tackle Christian Wilkins in free agency to team with pass rusher Maxx Crosby. On offense, they do most certainly know they'll be throwing it to their two young tight ends, first-round pick Brock Bowers and last year's second-round pick, Covington Catholic's Michael Mayer making his first trip home as a pro. A testing assignment for the Bengals' revamped look at safety with Stone, Bell, and Jordan Battle no doubt getting help from Dax Hill in a role he knows.

WEEK 9 · Sun 11/03 · 1:00 PM EST

Raiders

Las Vegas Raiders

Paycor Stadium

NOV. 7 at Baltimore 8:15 p.m. Prime Video:

Ibid. The Bengals were there last year for their tenth game on Thursday night. It was the scene of Burrow's last pass of the season, a four-yard touchdown that gave them a 10-7 lead late in the first half before the Ravens won, 34-20. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has never lost a home Thursday night.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Battle of Clemson. Since Burrow sifted them for 525 yards in 2021, the Ravens have drafted safety Kyle Hamilton and cornerback Nate Wiggins in the first round. The 6-1, 185-pound Wiggins comes highly-regarded this spring, but the one knock on him is his slight build contesting the 50-50 ball. His fellow Clemson Tiger, Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins, is a massive 6-4, 220-pound master class turning a 50-50 ball into about 98.5. That's a lot of pounds and inches to give.

NOV. 17 at LA Chargers 4:25 p.m. CBS:

The Bengals return to SoFi Stadium for the first time since the Super Bowl at the end of the 2021 season. Another game against a first-year head coach (Jim Harbaugh) and 2020 draft quarterback (Justin Herbert).

MATCHUP TO WATCH: No mystery how Harbaugh is going to try and turn this thing around. His first draft pick was right tackle Joe Alt. He signed powerful Ravens running back Gus "The Bus," Edwards on the first day of free agency, and his offensive coordinator, Greg Roman, was the architect of the Ravens' dominant run game. Hollywood Joe gets the headlines for his return to L.A. and the matchup with Herbert. But in the land of "Curb Your Enthusiasm," the irony is this one gets decided up front with the help of the Bengals' trio of new defensive tackles whose resumes say they stand out against the run: the rookies Jenkins and Jackson and the vet Sheldon Rankins.

DEC. 1 vs Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. CBS:

Two days after his 36th birthday, Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson returns to play only the second game of his 188-game career in the city of his birth. Born in Cincinnati during the 1988 Bengals' Super Bowl run, Wilson looks to avenge his 2015 Paycor Stadium loss in overtime when the Bengals erased Seattle's 24-7 lead with 20 straight points. He arrives on the first day of Burrowmember. Burrow is 13-4 in December and January games.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: The Bengals come off their second latest bye in the 35 seasons of such things, but would they ease in first-round pick Amarius Mims at right tackle on this day? That man over there is T.J. Watt, a four-time All-Pro who had three of his 12 sacks against Cincinnati last year. A Bengals-killer? A huge factor, but he's got 17 against Cleveland and 16 against Baltimore. One matchup for sure is Burrow against old LSU buddy Patrick Queen, the Ravens playmaking linebacker who jumped to the Steelers and takes his one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries, four tackles for loss, and one pick in his career against the Bengals.

WEEK 13 · Sun 12/01 · 1:00 PM EST

Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers

Paycor Stadium

DEC. 9 at Dallas, 8:15 p.m. ESPN:

In the first primetime night game between the two teams, the Bengals play old friend and new/old Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. The last time they met, the Bengals gave Zimmer's Vikings a crushing loss on a grueling Opening Day in 2021 via Burrow's heroics up until the last snap of overtime.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Last time in Big D two years ago, Cowboys pass rusher Micah Parsons won the day with two sacks and two TFLs. But now Dallas No. 1 pick, Oklahoma left tackle Tyler Guyton, has a welcome-to-the NFL moment against Bengals three-time Pro Bowl rusher Trey Hendrickson, the man with the second most sacks on the NFL edge in the 2020s.

DEC. 15 at Tennessee 1 p.m. FOX:

The first matchup of the Zac Taylor coaching tree when he meets his offensive aide de camp for his entire career in Cincinnati. Brian Callahan is the fourth rookie head coach he'll face at this point in the season, but there figures to not be as much of a mystery as the other three.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Mike Vrabel had a nice run in Nashville, but they were looking for something different and the Titans faithful is going to think Callahan is Air Coryell by this point in the season. He'll provide a much more formidable offense, particularly with dad Bill overseeing an offensive line with first-round pick J.C. Latham at left tackle. Plus, wide receiver Calvin Ridley should revive the career of three-time All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins on the other side, not to mention the acquisition of Callahan's slot receiver in Cincy, Tyler Boyd. That training camp battle featuring the game's smartest slot receiver, Boyd, against the NFL's smartest slot cornerback, the Bengals' Mike Hilton? Now it counts in the standings.

DEC. 19 vs Cleveland 8:15 p.m. Prime Video:

Another short week quickly, but Burrow is 2-0 at Paycor on Thursday nights and 5-0 at home under the Paycor lights.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Could be a real AFC North slugfest given the time of game and year, but the Browns are trying to get more explosive and have signed up wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey to open it up. Dorsey is said to be going with more open and spread formations. The game is being played three years to the day the Bengals blanked Jeudy on four targets during a win in Denver where Bengals cornerback Eli Apple had the last word on Twitter. But Jeudy sees a different set of cornerbacks now. (Note: Amazon Prime's Ryan Fitzpatrick is in the building and he's got a win over Dorsey as a Bengals quarterback.)

WEEK 16 · Thu 12/19 · 8:15 PM EST

Browns

Cleveland Browns

Paycor Stadium

DEC 28-29 vs Denver TBD:

The Broncos should be working with first-round pick Bo Nix at quarterback by now. It's been a tractor-pull for head coach Sean Payton getting the roster he wants for 8-9 club with the salary cap fallout of the Russell Wilson deal. But he did get the QB he sought. Taylor is 9-4 at Paycor during December and has a December win over the Broncos in Denver. But that was a head coach and a few quarterbacks ago.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: A nice SEC 2021 Draft Pro Bowl set-to with Bengals and LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, the fifth pick in the draft, against Broncos and Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II, the ninth pick. Chase has gone to the Pro Bowl all three years with 1,000-yard seasons and Surtain has gone to two with seven career interceptions.

WEEK 17 · TBD

Broncos

Denver Broncos

Paycor Stadium

JAN. 4-5 at Pittsburgh TBD:

The Bengals close out the season for just the fourth time in Pittsburgh and for the first time since they lost Marvin Lewis' last game in 2018, 16-13, despite 105 yards from running back Joe Mixon on 13 carries. Neither team made the playoffs that season, but the 2014 finale there proved to be the AFC North title game, where the Steelers denied the Bengals back-to-back championships.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: This feels like a rock fight and both teams heavily invested in the trenches last month in the draft. They picked offensive tackles in the first round (the Steelers plucked Troy Fautanu) and while they went with an interior offensive lineman in the second round (Zach Frazier), the Bengals went with a defensive tackle in the second (Kris Jenkins) and a nose tackle (McKinnley Jackson) in the third. The game may be TBD, but at this point in the season most of those guys, maybe all, are going to be in the clinches for this one.

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