Bengals reporter Katherine Terrell is predicting an 8-8 finish:
Sept. 8: at Seattle, Loss
Sept. 15: vs. 49ers, Win
Sept. 22: at Buffalo, Win
Sept. 30: at Pittsburgh (Monday), Loss
Oct. 6: vs. Arizona, Win
Oct. 13: at Baltimore, Win
Oct. 20: vs. Jacksonville, Loss
Oct. 27: vs. L.A. Rams (at London), Loss
Nov. 10: vs. Baltimore, Loss
Nov. 17: at Oakland, Win
Nov. 24: vs. Pittsburgh, Win
Dec. 1: vs. New York Jets, Win
Dec. 8: at Cleveland, Loss
Dec. 15: vs. New England, Loss
Dec. 22: at Miami, Win
Dec. 29: vs. Cleveland, Loss
Strength of schedule: .473 (T-20th)
There's no doubt about it: This is a tough schedule. The Bengals have to play the Patriots and the Rams, who were both in the Super Bowl last year, a 49ers team that will get quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo back, and an improved Browns team that beat them twice last season. The organization has been trying to find the spark to get the fans back into the stands at Paul Brown Stadium, but if they struggle early on the road, they might not see the fans come back all year. Unlike previous seasons, there's no real "break" in the schedule. The opponents that seem like the biggest challenge are spread throughout the season.
Quick start needed
The league schedule makers didn't exactly take it easy on new coach Zac Taylor. The Bengals start off at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, historically one of the toughest venues to play in the NFL, then have to travel to Buffalo in Week 3 and to Pittsburgh in Week 4 on Monday Night Football. The Bengals haven't beaten Pittsburgh since 2015. If the Bengals play like they did last September, when they finished 3-1 despite going on the road three times, they have a fighting chance. But if the 2018 late-season Bengals show up, things could be over before it even really starts.
This could be the most air miles the Bengals ever log in one season. Their four longest trips: at Seattle, against the Rams in London, at Oakland and at Miami add up to almost 10,000 miles of travel. This might be an exhausted team by the time they get to December, where they'll face the Browns twice in addition to the Patriots.