The Cincinnati Bengals come into the 2020 season with a new franchise quarterback and a revamped defense. After their 2-14 season, it would be hard for them not to improve. The goal for Cincinnati this season should be to develop chemistry among the young players and coaches and prepare for the 2021 season, where they should be much more competitive than in recent years.
Week 1: Los Angeles Chargers- (W) 1-0
This could end up being a battle of the two top quarterbacks from the 2020 NFL Draft (sorry Tua) if Justin Herbert can steal the job from Tyrod Taylor. Of these two teams, I simply believe that the Bengals are the better team here. Joe Burrow and co. should be able to pull out a win in their first game in the Queen City.
Week 2: @ Cleveland Browns- (L) 1-1
The first matchup of a brewing rivalry, I believe the Browns get the better of the Bengals in this matchup by virtue of experience. This should be a close game and neither side has a clear advantage. Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Joe Burrow and A.J. Green (or Tyler Boyd, who knows if Green can stay healthy), who are you taking?
Shits not even close https://t.co/phKmeamr7o
— Tyler Boyd (@boutdat_23) May 8, 2020
Week 3: @ Philadelphia Eagles- (L) 1-2
Another winnable game that the Bengals lose due to inexperience. Philadelphia is a tough place to play, and I simply don’t think this young Bengals team can handle it just yet. There should be good plays from both sides, but the Eagles are able to get a handle on things and put it away.
Week 4: Jacksonville Jaguars- (W) 2-2
Finally, a team that can make Bengals fans feel better about the past few seasons. The Jaguars are the leading candidates to just be downright terrible in the 2020 season. Cincinnati should have no problem winning this game on talent alone.
Week 5: @ Baltimore Ravens- (L) 2-3
After gaining some confidence against the Jaguars, the Bengals travel to Baltimore to have it ripped away. I don’t think the Bengals will get blown away more than twice in the 2020 season, but I do believe the Ravens are the opponent in both games. Baltimore has all the pieces in place to dismantle this young and still rebuilding Bengals team.
Week 6: @ Indianapolis Colts- (L) 2-4
The Colts are still a good team even without Andrew Luck and I predict that this game will be further proof of that. This will be a loss that can be attributed to both inexperience and holes in the roster. Indianapolis should simply outplay the Bengals and handily win this game.
Week 7: Cleveland Browns- (W) 3-4
By this point, the Bengals have started to build some chemistry and are facing their first repeat opponent. Keep in mind, the Bengals beat the Browns to get their second win last year, and Cincinnati is exponentially better this year. All the pieces are here for Joe Burrow to get his first win over his Ohio rivals.
Week 8: Tennessee Titans- (L) 3-5
The Bengals are in absolutely no place to compete with a team coming off an AFC Championship game. Derrick Henry should run all over the weakest defense in the league from last year. Even if the Titans aren’t as good as last season, the Bengals are still not set at linebacker, which will lead to some big performances from opposing rushers.
Week 9: BYE
Week 10: @ Pittsburgh Steelers- (L) 3-6
The Bengals come out of their bye week in true Bengals fashion, losing to the Steelers. The youth carrying this team is still not ready for a big-time rivalry game like this one, and it being in Pittsburgh does not help Cincinnati’s odds either. This should be a good game to watch but will most likely end in the Steelers’ favor.
Week 11: @ Washington Redskins- (W) 4-6
The first and second overall picks from the 2020 NFL Draft face off in this otherwise-boring game. Chase Young should be hoping the Bengals offensive line doesn’t get it together, because he could have a monster day. Beyond Young, the Bengals don’t really have much of a reason to be worried. They should secure this win as the team begins meshing even more.
Week 12: New York Giants- (W) 5-6
Similar to last week’s game at Washington, the Bengals shouldn’t really be worried. They are a more talented team and are developing chemistry, and will finally look like a half-decent team. The Giants just make them look better.
Week 13: @ Miami Dolphins- (W) 6-6
It has been awhile since Bengals fans have enjoyed a three game win streak, but here it is. The Dolphins complete the trifecta. This game could feature the first two selections at quarterback facing off, but that is dependent on Tua Tagovailoa staying healthy. Honestly, the odds are pretty low, so don’t get your hopes up. Furthermore, Cincinnati is simply more talented than the Dolphins. Hopefully this game is half as exciting as their 38-35 OT contest last season.
Week 14: Dallas Cowboys- (L) 6-7
The Bengals’ high comes to an end when the Cowboys come to town. Simply put, the Cowboys are a better team in virtually every facet and should have no trouble winning this one. At least Andy Dalton and his ex-teammates should be able to reunite and once again bring a loss to Cincinnati.
Week 15: Pittsburgh Steelers- (W) 7-7
I have a feeling that this game will be symbolic of the entire season for the Bengals. At this point, the talent should have time to mesh and chemistry should be produced. Inexperience and rookie mistakes should be at a minimum and this game should go to who wants it more. The Bengals will still have a chance at the playoffs at this point, so they will be motivated to get Joe Burrow a chance to do what Andy Dalton never could: win a playoff game.
Week 16: @ Houston Texans- (W) 8-7
The Texans have done nothing to get better. In fact, it can be argued they got worse. Especially after the ridiculous actions by Bill O’Brien, this team’s confidence will be at an all-time low. Cincinnati will take full advantage of this as they continue on their goal of making the playoffs.
Week 17: Baltimore Ravens- (L) 8-8
Hopefully no one thought they would actually make the playoffs, knowing the road there goes through the Ravens. Once again, the Bengals probably get blown out, although probably to a lesser extent than earlier in the season. This season still ends relatively successfully compared to previous years, and sets up a good base for 2021.