The 7-0 Bengals bid' for NFL supremacy has caught the national fancy and it's believed for the first time in their history they'll be on prime time in three straight games.
On Monday the NFL announced their Nov. 22 game at Arizona, originally scheduled for 4:05 p.m., Cincinnati time, has been flexed into 8:30 p.m. on NBC's Sunday Night Football.
That gives the Bengals a club-record five prime-time games this season, beginning Thursday (8:25 p.m.-NFL Network) against Cleveland at Paul Brown Stadium. The next game brings Houston to PBS for a Monday night game (8:30 p.m.-ESPN) on Nov. 16 before the trip to
Cincinnati Bengals travel to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 8 of the regular season
Arizona. The later start gives them a bit of a break in a short week that features a Friday flight to Phoenix just four days after the Texans game.
"We welcome the opportunity to have another national night appearance with the Arizona game," said Bengals vice president Katie Blackburn in a press release. "Our fans enjoy the extra showcase, and it provides another higher-profile test for the team as we continue the bid for another playoff berth."
Their Sunday night game on Dec. 20 at San Francisco remains subject to a possible flex into an afternoon slot, as do all remaining Sunday night games beyond Nov. 22. The Monday night games with Houston and at Denver on Dec. 28 aren't subject to flex scheduling.
Bengals-Cardinals is an alluring matchup for a lot of reasons. Arizona is 6-2 and leads the NFC West. Cincinnati's Andy Dalton, like the Cardinals' Carson Palmer. has been one of the NFL's leading quarterbacks. In this week's rankings, Palmer and Dalton are 3-4 behind New England's Tom Brady and Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers. And, of course, Dalton succeeded Palmer in Cincinnati in 2011 after Palmer asked for a trade. They've already met with the Bengals pummeling Palmer's Raiders, 34-10, at PBS in 2012 while sacking him four times.
In their history the Bengals are 3-6 against their former quarterbacks, but Dalton has won the last two. In his rookie year of 2011, Dalton won his first home game with a fourth-quarter comeback that gave Ryan Fitzpatrick's Bills a 23-20 loss at the gun. Then came the win over Palmer.
Dalton and Ken Anderson (over Tampa Bay's Jack Thompson in 1983) are the only Bengals quarterbacks to beat a former Cincy quarterback. Jeff Blake was 3-0 against his old mates and Boomer Esiason and Jay Schroeder also beat them after they moved on to the Jets and Cardinals, respectively.