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Based on the on-paper schedule, the Cincinnati Bengals won’t have it easy in 2021.
Those Bengals, after all, start off the season playing five of their first nine on the road, including three road games in a row, plus they don’t have a bye until Week 10.
As some new leaguewide analysis just revealed, too, only two teams have their toughest stretches of the year to close the season — the Bengals and the New York Jets.
Using advanced metrics, NFL.com’s Cynthia Frelund says that season-ending stretch is the hardest thing on Cincinnati’s schedule:
Week 15: at Denver
Week 16: vs. BAL
Week 17: vs. KC
Week 18: at CLE
It’s hard to argue. Not only are the opponents tough, from Week 16 onward, all three oponents will likely have eyes on playoff seeding.
Other tough points on the schedule shouldn’t go overlooked, of course. The Bengals have to play Pittsburgh on the road in Week 3, only to turn around a few days later on a Thursday night for their only primetime game of the season against Jacksonville.
There are other examples, but indeed, that season-closing stretch looks brutal for the Bengals. If things have gone as planned though, a playoff berth could be at stake for them, too.