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Way-too-early 2024 game predictions for the Bengals

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By: Anthony Cosenza

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Bring on the torches and pitchforks as we take a ridiculously early stab at the Bengals’ wins and losses now that the schedule is laid out.

The final step in the ushering in of a new NFL season has come and gone. The NFL schedules were released for the 2024 season, and there were a lot of eye-opening elements for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Cincinnati has a pretty easy on-ramp to the season, with some sprinkled in midseason difficulties and some uber-important divisional games at the finish. It’s not even Memorial Day, but here is our way-too-early look at a season prediction for the Bengals.

Week 1, September 8th: Patriots at Bengals

New England was a train wreck last year, but with a new quarterback and a new head coach, they’re hoping to catch some of that 2023 Houston Texans lightning-in-a-bottle magic this year. We’ll see if it’s Drake Maye or Jacoby Brissett to start the year, but this is an optimum time for the Bengals to catch a New England team amid a major transition.

Cincinnati should handle business in their season and home opener, even if the reins are still on Burrow at this point.

Patriots 17, Bengals 27 — WIN, 1-0

Week 2, September 15th: Bengals at Chiefs

One of the league’s best inter-divisional rivalries kicks off a lot earlier than expected this year. Perhaps the schedule-makers wanted to ensure maximum health for both rosters in this one, but with these two teams’ streaky nature, it may be difficult to gauge how hot both squads will be as the season is commencing.

The Bengals have lost the last two to the Chiefs, both of them with huge implications and the last one being closer than many thought possible because of Joe Burrow being sidelined. It’s a difficult task to march into Arrowhead and win, especially with the Bengals being notoriously slow starters.

However, this could be the focus-grabber of a game early in the schedule to get them on track in September. It also hinges on how Burrow feels and looks while coming back from that wrist injury. Cincinnati already seems primed for the contest.

Bengals 26, Chiefs 23, WIN, 2-0

Week 3, September 21st: Washington Commanders at Cincinnati Bengals (Monday Night Football)

The Commanders are another team in transition, setting up a nice ramp-up to the beginning of the season for a Bengals team prone to slow starts. Still, they have some weapons who can provide problems, if the Bengals aren’t on point.

This feels like a pretty sound Bengals win, if the pieces are falling into place and there aren’t any other summertime surprises.

Commanders 16, Bengals 27, WIN — 3-0

Week 4, September 29: Bengals at Panthers

Cincinnati travels to the south to take on Bryce Young, who is looking to rebound from a rough rookie year. Carolina attempted to restock the cabinet with protection and weapons for him, but they, too, are a team in rebuild mode.

Will Young be the next C.J. Stroud, just a year later? Will the Panthers mature more quickly than some suppose? It’s possible, but for now, this looks like the conclusion of a very strong first month of the season for Cincinnati.

Bengals 26, Panthers 17 — WIN, 4-0

Week 5, October 6th: Ravens at Bengals

Cincinnati has had trouble against Lamar Jackson, and that’s an understatement. He’s only lost to the Bengals once in his career, and if they want to make a deep run again this year, Cincinnati will desperately need to tip the scales back to balance when it comes to divisional play.

We’re still looking at a split aim with these six games, but I think this is where the winning streak gets snapped. Cincinnati regroups to try and get the away win later in the year.

Baltimore 19, Cincinnati 16, LOSS — 4-1

Week 6, October 13th: Bengals at Giants (Sunday Night Football)

Cincinnati travels to take on a somewhat unfamiliar foe on a platform (SNF) that hasn’t been overly kind to them since its NBC inception, save for a couple of recent, huge playoff wins. Regardless, New York appears to be committed to Daniel Jones, as they didn’t go quarterback at No. 6 overall.

This feels like a pretty favorable game for the Bengals, but we’ve seen the Giants come from out of nowhere and surprise folks (2022 being a recent, prime example). Still, barring something unforeseen, Cincinnati should handle this one.

Bengals 27, Giants 17 — WIN, 5-1

Week 7, October 20th: Bengals at Browns

In what used to be a bi-annual cakewalk for the Bengals in the Marvin Lewis era, this iteration of the Zac Taylor Cincinnati squad has struggled mightily in “The Battle of Ohio”. You know that doesn’t sit well with the Brown family, and Cincinnati desperately needs to balance this out, at a minimum, going forward.

Until they can prove they can regularly beat the tough teams in the division, we’re going with splits (or worse) across the board. This one being in Cleveland feels like a Browns win, which stings because of two straight divisional losses.

Cincinnati 16, Browns 24 — LOSS, 5-2

Week 8, October 27th: Eagles at Bengals

This has the makings of one of the most fun watches of the season. The Eagles are tough, despite their second-half collapse last year, and with the Bengals hopefully hitting their full stride at this point, this should be points aplenty in this one.

Philly provides a really tough matchup for the Bengals, particularly for Cincinnati’s secondary. Sure, they shored up safety but haven’t made high-profile additions to the cornerback group, relying on big jumps from DJ Turner and Dax Hill in his third-year transition.

Eagles 34, Bengals 30 — LOSS, 5-3

Week 9, November 3rd: Raiders at Bengals

Las Vegas appears headed in the right direction, but they still have massive questions at quarterback. More signal-callers flew off the board than they anticipated when they were picking in the first round, so they went with a generational pass-catcher in Brock Bowers.

He’ll quickly become Gardner Minshew’s best buddy and he’ll provide a matchup quandary for Cincinnati’s revamped back line of the defense. The Raiders still appear to be a year or two away from being a consistently tough beat, so Cincinnati handles this one at home.

Raiders 20, Bengals 31— WIN, 6-3

Week 10, November 7th: Bengals at Ravens (Thursday Night Football)

Cincinnati starts to feel the desperation after a previous three-game skid and two AFC North losses. If the team is healthy and the Bengals are able to generate a lot of interior pass rush with the new additions, they could provide a formula to frustrate Jackson the second time around.

I have the Bengals splitting with the Ravens and getting this much-needed primetime win, giving him fits with pressure. Perhaps the short week also affects Baltimore negatively.

Bengals 23, Ravens 20 — WIN, 7-3

Week 11, November 17th: Bengals at Chargers

This is one of the trickier games on the schedule. Los Angeles was a mess last year but appears to be headed in a good direction with Jim Harbaugh’s return to the NFL. Like Burrow, Justin Herbert is coming back from a season-ending injury, but behind a revamped offensive line with Joe Alt in tow, the Chargers want to be physical.

Can they impose their will against the Bengals’ rebuilt defense? Will “The Harbaugh Effect” show immediate dividends, or will they experience growing pains in his first year back?

Bengals 26, Chargers 24 — WIN, 8-3

Week 12: BYE

Week 13, December 1st: Steelers at Bengals

This one is huge. Cincinnati blew an opportunity (twice) to get into the playoffs with Jake Browning against a reeling Steelers team that just happened to remember who they were when playing the Bengals. The Christmastime debacle really put things into perspective, as Cincinnati is trying to again find answers for the AFC North bullies.

A healthy Burrow and an improved defense should do the trick, even once. Oh, and let’s not forget the probable short and long-term right tackle solutions now on Cincinnati’s roster to hopefully handle T.J. Watt.

Steelers 21, Bengals 24— WIN, 9-3

Week 14, December 9th: Bengals at Cowboys (Monday Night Football)

This very well could be another one of the more entertaining games on the entire NFL regular season slate. When rolling, the Cowboys know how to put up points—especially at home, and we know Cincy can do the same when all hands are on deck.

This one is a coin flip, but I’ll take Dallas in this one, as they tend to play pretty well in that mid-late area of the regular season if only to flop in the postseason.

Bengals 23, Cowboys 30 — LOSS, 9-4

Week 15, December 15th: Bengals at Titans

Tennessee is more in the realm of some of the teams on the early portion of the Bengals’ schedule in that they are rebuilding. Still, they like Will Levis, and old friend Brian Callahan gets his head coaching shot with his dad by his side.

Chidobe Awuzie and Tyler Boyd are also on the opposing sideline. I think the Bengals are the better team, but Callahan might be able to scheme his way to a victory over his old boss.

Bengals 21, Titans 23 — LOSS, 9-5

Week 16, December 19: Browns at Bengals (Thursday Night Football)

Oh, boy. This is where things get really interesting. Seeing where both of these teams are and which games they are coming out of while going into a short week is always part of the formula when attempting to predict at mid-week game.

Cincinnati is entering must-win territory in this one, as nine wins wasn’t enough to get them in last year. Plus, they need to start racking up wins in the division to help their cause. Bengals win an UGLY one here to split the “Battle of Ohio”.

Browns 17, Bengals 19 — WIN, 10-5

Week 17, December 28-29: Broncos at Bengals

Sean Payton and quarterbacks go together like red wine and steak, so it will be interesting to see whether Bo Nix or Zach Wilson will be under center at this point. Conventional wisdom says it will be the rookie, but we have seen him get high production out of veterans who have switched teams.

Still, this appears to be a Bengals win when examining the current state of affairs. Cincinnati continues its march to the postseason.

Broncos 21, Bengals 28 — WIN, 11-5

Week 18, January 4-5: Bengals at Steelers

What’s going to be at stake in this one? History and senses tell us that the Steelers will be in it once again until the end, but they do have some mysteries at quarterback. Whether it’s a “win-and-in” situation, or a “play for pride” one for Pittsburgh, they’re going to try and spoil Cincinnati’s fun.

Bengals 22, Steelers 28 — LOSS, 11-6

RESULT: WILD CARD BERTH

Originally posted on Cincy Jungle – All Posts