The Bengals are coming off a surprise Super Bowl run that saw them come within inches of hoisting the Lombardi for the first time in franchise history. Will this young, hungry group of playmakers be able to repeat last year’s success? Let’s go game-by-game and analyze their chances.
The Bengals have a tough road to repeat their success from 2021, as the back half of their schedule is absolutely loaded with teams that will be looking to push for the playoffs. Therefore, it will be essential for the team to get out to a fast start, but how does each game on their 2022 schedule stack up? Let’s take a look and breakdown the matchups that will make or break Cincinnati this fall.
Week 1 vs. Pittsburgh, 1 PM
The Bengals open against a Pittsburgh team that has yet to announce who their starting quarterback will be for the season. While the options of Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett, and Mason Rudolph seem uninspired, they have a good group of offensive talent around them, and a ferocious defense to back them up. However, the Steelers’ offensive line is a major liability, and I don’t think that combined with the uncertainty at quarterback is a winning formula going into the house of the defending AFC Champions. The Bengals take this game, but it’s closer than many might expect.
Prediction: Win (1 – 0)
Week 2 @ Dallas, 4:25 PM
The Bengals have failed to beat the Cowboys in any of their meetings since 2004, but this is the year that that could change. While the ‘Boys do deploy impressive talent at the skill positions and have a few great defensive playmakers in Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs, their roster also has a lot of question marks. How will the team handle the loss of Tyron Smith in the preseason? Will Diggs be able to keep up with Chase, and will any of the Cowboys’ other corners be able to keep up with Higgins and Boyd? This feels like a game that could come down to the wire, but give me the Bengals as they feel like the slightly more complete team.
Prediction: Win (2 – 0)
Week 3 @ New York Jets, 1:00 PM
The Bengals will be looking to avenge their embarrassing Halloween loss from last season, where a defensive meltdown and some questionable officiating led to them leaving the Big Apple disappointed. The Jets continued to build their roster through free agency and the draft and could be a sleeper squad this coming season. However, they are still likely a year away from being serious playoff threats, and there are questions on if Zach Wilson will be back from injury in time to play in this game. For now, I will assume he plays and the Bengals’ defense can force some turnovers, but even if they have to play Flacco, I have faith they can force just enough mistakes to pull it out. Just as long as they don’t have to play…Mike White.
Prediction: Win (3 – 0)
Week 4 vs. Miami, 8:15 PM (TNF)
This game represents the debut of the long-awaited White Bengal uniforms and a clash of the top two quarterbacks drafted in the 2020 Draft. While Tua Tagovailoa’s NFL career has not been quite as impressive as Burrow’s to this point, the Dolphins did an admirable job of surrounding him with offensive talent this offseason, which starts with the addition of Tyreek Hill. Hill has put on a show against Cincinnati before, and while that was with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, it is important the Bengals defense not underestimate just how dangerous he still is. That’s not to mention young stud Jaylen Waddle and playmakers Mike Gesicki, Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, and Myles Gaskin. This game will be a lot closer than many Bengals fans likely expect, but I expect Burrow to make the plays in the clutch to pull out the win while Tua throws a game-breaking interception late to seal it.
Prediction: Win (4 – 0)
Week 5 @ Baltimore, 8:20 PM (SNF)
The impressive start ends here for Cincinnati, as they go into Baltimore on Sunday Night Football and take on a hungry Ravens team that is eager to prove last year was a fluke. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson still has yet to ink a contract extension, which could mean he is even more dangerous this year as he heads into his contract season. On top of that, the Ravens did an admirable job of reinforcing the defense, bringing in guys like Marcus Williams and Kyle Hamilton, while adding another playmaker to the tight end room in Isaiah Likely. And the biggest additions will be just getting their own back from the hospital, with guys like JK Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Marcus Peters, and Marlon Humphrey all missing significant portions of last season. This is a dangerous Ravens team, and they will demonstrate that in front of the world in primetime.
Prediction: Loss (4 – 1)
Week 6 @ New Orleans, 1:00 PM
It’s a Bayou reunion for the Bengals’ top two players, as Burrow and Chase head back to the state that started them on their careers to superstardom. The Saints have quietly assembled a very impressive squad, with playmakers all over the offense and a fantastic defense led by Demario Davis, Cam Jordan, Marshon Lattimore, and new addition Tyrann Mathieu. This New Orleans squad is dangerous, but with Jameis Winston at quarterback, there is always the chance he makes a boneheaded play that could help out Cincinnati. I think that happens, and the Bengals steal one in the Big Easy.
Prediction: Win (5 – 1)
Week 7 vs. Atlanta, 1:00 PM
The Falcons are in a rebuilding stage right now, but that does not mean they cannot be dangerous. They have one of the top young corners in the league in AJ Terrell and one of the game’s best interior pass rushers in Grady Jarrett. They have talent on offense too, with Marcus Mariota being a running threat on every play and receiving talent like Kyle Pitts, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Drake London building out the squad. However, with this game being in Cincinnati and the talent differential on many parts of the field being quite vast, this feels like a confident win for the Bengals. This should be a clean-up game between their big showdown in New Orleans and the big game on Halloween night against Cleveland. It’s important to not overlook any opponents in the NFL, but this Falcons squad is more likely to be picking near the top of the draft than be contending for a playoff spot in 2022.
Prediction: Win (6 – 1)
Week 8 @ Cleveland, 8:15 PM (MNF)
The Bengals’ first matchup with Cleveland comes on Halloween night, and it will certainly be a spooky affair for the Browns’ faithful as they are forced to watch Jacoby Brissett for the first eleven games of the season. This Browns team has incredible talent all over the field save for two positions: quarterback and receiver, which are arguably the two most important positions in today’s game. However, they cannot be slept on, especially with elite players on the defensive end in Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward. That’s not to mention the fact the Bengals have not beaten the Browns since the final week of 2019. I expect that to change here and Cincinnati to pull out a big Halloween road victory.
Prediction: Win (7 – 1)
Week 9 vs. Carolina, 1:00 PM
Carolina will be starting Bengals nemesis Baker Mayfield in this game, and even though they are another team that will be in a rebuilding stage, that alone makes them dangerous. They also have talent all over the field, with DJ Moore and Christian McCaffrey boosting the offensive attack and Brian Burns, Shaq Thompson, and Jeremy Chinn forming a solid defense. However, Matt Rhule may be on his last legs as a head coach at the pro level, and this is the type of game the Bengals need to win if they want to get to where they want to be in 2022. It’ll be closer than many likely expect, but the Bengals are able to pull out a big win before they go into the bye week.
Prediction: Win (8 – 1)
Week 10 BYE
The first half of the Bengals’ schedule includes a lot of interesting sleeper teams, but they should be the better squad in most of these games. Thus, it is crucial that they get off to a hot start, and 8 – 1 is certainly not going to disappoint anyone. However, the second half of the season represents a serious gauntlet, and the team will need to buckle down over the last eight weeks, as they did in 2022, if they want to make another run to the Super Bowl.
Week 11 @ Pittsburgh, 8:20 PM (SNF)
The Bengals return from their bye week and go to Pittsburgh in primetime, which is definitely a tough spot. At this point in the year, the Steelers have likely moved on to Kenny Pickett, who offers a little bit more upside in the passing game than does Trubisky. While this is still a game the Bengals can win, this feels like a letdown spot for the team after a red hot start to 2022. Cincinnati will have to come out ultra-dialed if they hope to sweep the Steelers for a second straight season, and I think Mike Tomlin’s squad is able to steal this one.
Prediction: Loss (8 – 2)
Week 12 @ Tennessee, 1 PM
Another team that will be looking for revenge after Cincinnati ended their 2021, Tennessee is somewhat of a team in transition but still very dangerous. While Ryan Tannehill limits their passing attack and their receivers leave something to be desired, Derrick Henry alone can carry that offense, and their defense is extremely dangerous, led by stars Jeffery Simmons and Kevin Byard. Going on the road to Nashville is a tough ask for any opponent, and Tennessee successfully avenges their playoff loss last January with an upset win over the Bengals here.
Prediction: Loss (8 – 3)
Week 13 vs. Kansas City, 4:25 PM
With two losses out of the bye and Kansas City coming to town, the Bengals can’t afford to lick their wounds; they need to come out firing against Patrick Mahomes’ crew to maintain pace in a loaded AFC. While the Chiefs have lost some of their edge with the losses of Tyreek Hill on offense and Tyrann Mathieu on defense, they will continue to be dangerous so long as they employ Mahomes, and their defense should take some a step forward this season after the additions of Trent McDuffie and George Karlaftis in the draft. However, Burrow is undefeated against the Chiefs to this point in his career, and in Week 13, he continues that trend. Chase and Higgins have huge days as the Bengals right the ship and are able to pull one out against one of the top teams in the league.
Prediction: Win (9 – 3)
Week 14 vs. Cleveland, 1 PM
This game will be the first time the Bengals face Deshaun Watson in a Browns uniform, and this game is going to be tight. Watson can throw the ball all over the yard with ease, and his talents, combined with Cleveland’s ground assault, will leave Cincinnati’s defense in a tender spot. While Burrow and the Bengals’ offense can certainly put up points, the Browns’ enormous talent comes out and they are able to massage just enough points to pull this one out. I expect Cleveland to leave this game with a happy ending.
Prediction: Loss (9 – 4)
Week 15 @ Tampa Bay, 4:25 PM
The first matchup between Burrow and Brady sees the Bengals go down to Florida to take on the Buccaneers. Brady has always played his best football late in the season, and with this matchup coming in mid-December, this feels like a spot that the Buccaneers are able to excel. Brady is extremely adept at taking advantage of an opposing defense’s weakness, and Chris Godwin against Eli Apple feels like a matchup he will feast on all day long. The Bengals offense should be able to put up points in this game, but the experience factor wins out in the end, as Brady sends the Bengals back up north with four losses in five games.
Prediction: Loss (9 – 5)
Week 16 @ New England, 1 PM
Going to Foxborough on Christmas Eve is never easy, but this might be the easiest matchup of the latter half of the schedule for the Bengals. Mac Jones is very limited as a quarterback, and with Josh McDaniels leaving for Vegas, it remains to be seen how a new offensive coaching staff is able to maximize his abilities. On defense, the Patriots boast a ferocious front seven, but their back end is made up of average corners and an aging veteran at safety in Devin McCourty. Playing Belichick during the final playoff push is never easy, but the Bengals have advantages all over the field. Expect them to go into Christmas with a much needed win to push their season win total to double digits.
Prediction: Win (10 – 5)
Week 17 vs. Buffalo, 8:30 PM (MNF)
The game of the year for Cincinnati will take place on January 2 in the Jungle. Josh Allen and the Bills come to town and will almost certainly be met be a raucous Paycor Stadium that will make every snap difficult for the Bills’ offense. That won’t be enough on its own, though; the Bengals will need to come to play if they hope to take one from perhaps the best team in the league. I expect this one to be a high-scoring affair, similar in many ways to the Bengals-Chiefs Week 17 game from last season. And I expect the same result in the end, as well. Evan McPherson lines up to take the game-winning field goal at the gun and drills it, clinching a playoff spot for the Bengals in front of their home fans. Either way, this is going to be one that fantasy football fans should circle right away.
Prediction: Win (11 – 5)
Week 18 vs. Baltimore, TBD
The Bengals clinched their playoff spot the week before, but with the dangerous Ravens coming to town, they may still need to win one more to take home the division. These are two opponents who know each other very well at this point, and with the Ravens taking the first matchup in Baltimore, this feels like a spot where the Bengals avenge their earlier defeat. Some atrition may have set in in Baltimore as well; some of the star Ravens who have shown to struggle with injuries (Ronnie Stanley, for example) could be on the mend by the time this game rolls around. The Bengals take this one and the North, but with the playoffs on the horizon, this might not be the last time these two teams face in 2022.
Prediction: Win (12 – 5)
Final Prediction: 12 – 5, AFC North Champions
<img width="1160" height="1170" src="https://i0.wp.com/stadiumrant.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2022/06/SR-FullColor-UnboxedLogo-2-e1654286488603.png?fit=1160%2C1170&ssl=1" class="custom-logo lazyload" alt="Stadium Rant" decoding="async" srcset="https://i0.wp.com/stadiumrant.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2022/06/SR-FullColor-UnboxedLogo-2-e1654286488603.png?w=1160&ssl=1 1160w, https://i0.wp.com/stadiumrant.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2022/06/SR-FullColor-UnboxedLogo-2-e1654286488603.png?resize=297%2C300&ssl=1 297w, https://i0.wp.com/stadiumrant.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2022/06/SR-FullColor-UnboxedLogo-2-e1654286488603.png?resize=1015%2C1024&ssl=1 1015w, https://i0.wp.com/stadiumrant.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2022/06/SR-FullColor-UnboxedLogo-2-e1654286488603.png?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1 150w, https://i0.wp.com/stadiumrant.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2022/06/SR-FullColor-UnboxedLogo-2-e1654286488603.png?resize=768%2C775&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/stadiumrant.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2022/06/SR-FullColor-UnboxedLogo-2-e1654286488603.png?resize=500%2C504&ssl=1 500w, https://i0.wp.com/stadiumrant.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2022/06/SR-FullColor-UnboxedLogo-2-e1654286488603.png?resize=800%2C807&ssl=1 800w" sizes="(max-width: 880px) 100vw, 880px" />
We’re hiring multiple contributing writers and a PAID managing editor for the 2022 season! Please submit an application here!
Want more Cincinnati Bengals content? Be sure to check out the site here for more on the Bengals, and follow our network Twitter @StadiumRantHQ for more sports content. Thanks for reading, and have a fantastic day!