Cincinnati Bengals Schedule: Most Difficult Games of 2022

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For the first time since 2016, the Cincinnati Bengals will have to play a first-place schedule. Considering the nuclear arms race that is now the AFC, the 2022 schedule did the Bengals no favors in their quest to repeat as AFC Champions. Here at Last Word on Pro Football, we will be analyzing each of the 32 teams’ schedules, breaking them down in terms of most difficult games to the easiest. To begin, let’s take a look at the nine most difficult games on the Cincinnati Bengals schedule.

Most Difficult Games on the 2022 Cincinnati Bengals Schedule

1. Week 17 vs Buffalo Bills

The odds-on favorites to win Super Bowl LVII roll into Cincinnati for Monday Night Football in the penultimate week of the season. Josh Allen is a top-five quarterback and has a legitimate argument for being the best. Realistically, this matchup was a coin-flip away from happening last January.

Cincinnati invested in its defense to stop the likes of this Bills attack. Allen can carve up the best defenses and Chidobe Awuzie and Cam Taylor-Britt will have their work cut out for them lining up across Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis. The Bengals offense will also be able to move the ball this year but Buffalo invested two of their first three picks on the defensive side of the ball to go with the addition of Von Miller.

It’s a game with playoff implications and a potential MVP battle. The Bengals will need to work to make sure that “Punt God” Matt Araiza gets plenty of reps in this one.

2. Week 15 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Joe Burrow vs Tom Brady. The game that many within Bengals fandom are dubbing a passing of the torch, this last-season matchup with yet another Super Bowl contender will show where this team stands.

Betting against Brady is about the same as throwing money down the drain. This Buccaneers team will be ready to fight and will be positioning for another playoff run. Considering the team nearly came back and was the Bengals opponent in Super Bowl LVI, this will be a clash of titans.

The receiving corps of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin will test the Bengals secondary. The Buccaneers defense was in the bottom third against the pass but was third-best against the run in 2021. Safe to say it will be tough sledding for Joe Mixon in this one.

3. Week 13 vs Kansas City Chiefs

Twice the Chiefs got out to early, multiple-core leads. Twice the Bengals held Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense to three points in the second half. Cincinnati clinched the AFC North and a spot in the Super Bowl off of a pair of Evan McPherson kicks last year. Common sense assumes that round three would not be as insane.

Despite the fact the Bengals took down the Chiefs twice last year, the Chiefs are still among the cream of the crop in the AFC. Mahomes is one of the best in the game. Travis Kelce is a threat at all times. Despite losing Tyreek Hill and Tyrann Mathieu, the Chiefs improved via the draft. They added talents such as Trent McDuffie, George Karlaftis, Skyy Moore, and Bryan Cook.

On the Cincinnati Bengals schedule, both Bengals fans and Chiefs fans alike will have this matchup circled. “Third time’s the charm?” Hopefully not and Burrow’s squad truly turns into an annoying thorn in the side of Kansas City. Regardless of this outcome (and the Buffalo game), there’s a non-zero chance these teams face off in the playoffs again.

4. Week 18 vs Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens were among the most unlucky in the league last year when it came of injuries. They were considered a Super Bowl contender before and will likely be considered one this year. The final week in Cincinnati could very well be the deciding factor in the AFC North race.

In 2020, Lamar Jackson and company could do no wrong. In 2021, it was all Burrow. The last time these two teams met, Burrow broke the Bengals single-game passing record en route to a 41-21 thrashing. Safe to say that a pseudo-healthy Ravens squad will put up a better fight with the AFC North on the line.

The Bengals built their team to contend with the rushing attack of Baltimore. On paper, Cincinnati looks to match up extremely well. Baltimore’s wide receiver corp is weak but everywhere else is strong. The Ravens knocked their draft out of the park and stole a number of prospects the Bengals would have wanted for their own squad.

As of now, Cincinnati has five Primetime games. If the season goes as predicted and this game will decide the AFC North, this will make six. Thankfully for Cincinnati, this will be their second-consecutive home game, so they shouldn’t have to worry about fatigue via traveling.

5. Week 8 at Cleveland Browns

If there’s been Kryptonite to Cincinnati and Burrow, it’s Cleveland. Currently, the Browns are riding a four-game win streak against the Bengals and have done so in spectacular fashion. This off-season, Cleveland gave away a king’s ransom for the opportunity to pay Deshaun Watson for his services.

Barring a major suspension from the NFL, the first time the Bengals will face off against the Watson-led Browns will be on Monday Night Football. Sitting as the fifth-most difficult game of the 2022 Cincinnati Bengals schedule, we are assuming that Watson suits up. Even without Watson, the Browns have faired well against the Bengals with the likes of Baker Mayfield.

The Browns roster is very, very solid. Nick Chubb and that rushing attack are among the best in the league. The first half of the Cincinnati Bengals schedule is far easier than the latter half. If Cincinnati wants to snap this long losing streak, they will need to punish Watson (if the NFL doesn’t) and shut down Chubb.

6. Week 12 at Tennessee Titans

The Bengals lucked out in 2022 because they are not facing a single opponent off of a bye. Additionally, just this Titans team will face the Bengals with a long week. In Week 11, Tennessee will play on Thursday Night, so they’ll have more time to prepare for the team that ousted them in the AFC Divisional Round.

If not for a ridiculous nine sacks in that game, the final score would have been a bit heavier on the side of the Bengals. Ryan Tannehill does not strike fear into the hearts of defenses and they traded away AJ Brown. Derrick Henry will be the focus and he will have yet another monster year.

Cincinnati improved the offensive line to avoid another nine-sack effort. Tennessee may seem like an easier game on the schedule but they were the top overall see in the AFC for a reason. This will be a hard-fought game for the Bengals.

7. Week 5 at Baltimore Ravens

Easily the most difficult game of the first half of the Cincinnati Bengals schedule will be in Baltimore, under the lights.

This will be the first matchup between these two and will give each side an opportunity to gain early leverage in the divisional race. Lucky for Cincinnati, they will roll into this matchup on a long week after playing Miami on Thursday Night.

Last year, Burrow torched the Ravens defense to the tune of 941 yards and seven touchdowns. 326 yards and one of those touchdowns were to Ja’Marr Chase. Perhaps their new defensive coordinator will treat him as a number one receiver this year and double-cover him.

8. Week 11 at Pittsburgh Steelers

Bengals vs Steelers just always feels like a Primetime matchup. Off of their bye, the Bengals will travel to Pittsburgh for a Sunday Night clash with the Steelers. Last year, Cincinnati swept Pittsburgh with style.  The offensive line and the play of Ben Roethlisberger were massive liabilities in 2021. It could be argued that it was the worst team of the Mike Tomlin era. Even then, Pittsburgh clawed its way into the playoffs.

Najee Harris is a true threat at running back when the blocks get set up. Pittsburgh added a new center but will that be enough to fix one of the worst lines in football? Defensively, Cameron Heyward, T.J. Watt, and Minkah Fitzpatrick have played well against the Bengals. Considering the thrashing they received last year, they will come out motivated.

These two face off Week 1 in Cincinnati, so the stakes in this matchup will depend on what happens then. For the first time since the late ’80s, the Bengals have beaten the Steelers three times in a row. Could this game end up making it five in a row? On paper, Cincinnati is significantly better, so it’s possible.

9. Week 14 vs Cleveland Browns

Barring a season-long suspension, Watson should be quarterbacking the Browns in round two in Cincinnati. Each team has playoff aspirations, so positioning within the division will be on the line. Cincinnati will be facing Cleveland at the end of a back-to-back homestretch here, so that should alleviate some concern.

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