Fans of the Cincinnati Bengals now know when, where and who their team will be playing this coming season.
The NFL announced the full schedule of games for the 2023-2024 season on May 11 at 8 p.m. via primetime television specials that aired on the NFL Network and ESPN 2.
Hopes are high once again for the Bengals, who are coming off of another exciting season that saw the team go 12-4 and make it all the way to the AFC Championship Game for the second year in a row.
There’s another element that will add a little extra excitement to Cincinnati’s 2023-2024 campaign for some fans.
Following the statewide launch of sports betting in Ohio on Jan. 1, Bengals fans were only able to bet on two regular season games (one of which was ultimately canceled) and a trio of playoff games last season.
This year marks the first full season that Ohioans can legally place bets on the team using one of the online sportsbooks operating in the state or in-person at one of the state’s brick-and-mortar retail sportsbooks.
At least four chances to watch the Bengals in primetime
Fans will have a handful of opportunities to catch the Cincinnati Bengals in primetime this season.
Cincinnati’s four night games begin with a Monday Night Football home game against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3 (Sept. 25). The Bengals have another Monday Night Football game on Dec. 4 against the Jaguars in Jacksonville.
The Bengals have a home game against the Buffalo Bills on Nov. 5 for the team’s only scheduled Sunday Night Football appearance this season. And Cincinnati will play their division rivals the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Night Football on Nov. 16 in Baltimore.
In addition, the team’s New Year’s Eve game against the Kansas City Chiefs will be a nationally televised, stand-alone game on that Saturday at 4:25 p.m.
The NFL leaves open the possibility to “flex” games to prime time later in the season, so more night games are possible for the Bengals.
Week 7 (the week of Oct. 22) is the Bengals’ bye week.
Cincinnati Bengals full ’23-’24 season schedule:
|1||@ Cleveland Browns||Sunday, Sept. 10||1 p.m.||CBS
|2||Vs. Baltimore Ravens||Sunday, Sept. 17||1 p.m.||CBS|
|3||Vs. Los Angeles Rams||Monday, Sept. 25||8:15 p.m.||ESPN
|4||@ Tennessee Titans||Sunday, Oct. 1||1 p.m.||FOX
|5||@ Arizona Cardinals||Sunday, Oct. 8||4:05 p.m.||FOX|
|6||Vs. Seattle Seahawks||Sunday, Oct. 15||1 p.m.||CBS
|8||@ San Francisco 49res||Sunday, Oct. 29||4:25 p.m.||CBS|
|9||Vs. Buffalo Bills||Sunday, Nov. 5||8:20 p.m.||NBC
|10||Vs. Houston Texans||Sunday, Nov. 12||1 p.m.||CBS
|11||@ Baltimore Ravens||Thursday, Nov. 16||8:15 p.m.||Amazon Prime Video
|12||Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers||Sunday, Nov. 26||1 p.m.||CBS
|13||@ Jacksonville Jaguars||Monday, Dec. 4||8:15 p.m.||ESPN|
|14||Vs. Indianapolis Colts||Sunday, Dec. 10||1 p.m.||CBS|
|15||Vs. Minnesota Vikings||Saturday, Dec. 16 or Sunday, Dec. 17||TBD||TBD|
|16||@ Pittsburgh Steelers||Saturday, Dec. 23||4:30 p.m.||NBC
|17||@ Kansas City Chiefs||Sunday, Dec. 31||4:25 p.m.||CBS|
|18||Vs. Cleveland Browns||Saturday, Jan. 6 or Sunday, Jan. 7||TBD||TBD|
AFC North looks to be tough as ever
If Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase and the rest of the Bengals are going to make another deep playoff run this season, they’ve got a fairly difficult regular season schedule to get through first.
Cincinnati will face several rivals — both new and old — this season, not the least of which are the Bengals’ AFC North competitors.
The Baltimore Ravens look to remain the Bengals top AFC North rival. Besides the Thursday Night Football game in Baltimore on Nov. 16, the Ravens and Bengals face off Sept. 17 at Cincinnati’s Paycor Stadium.
The Bengals beat the Ravens last season in the AFC Wild Card playoff game, but Baltimore was without quarterback Lamar Jackson. After signing a five-year deal with the Ravens in the offseason that made him the highest-paid player in the NFL, Jackson returns this season with some added firepower at his disposal. In the offseason, the Ravens added superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and picked Boston College receiver Zay Flowers in the first round of this year’s draft.
The Bengals know not to sleep on their other division foes, who’ve consistently played tough against Cincinnati in recent years.
The Bengals have only beaten the Cleveland Browns once with Joe Burrow under center. That win last season was the Bengals’ first game against Cleveland with quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was rusty in his late-season return following an extensive suspension.
Joined by wide receiver Elijah Moore (who was acquired from the Jets in the offseason), if Watson regains his Pro Bowl form, the Bengals will have their hands full when they play the Browns for their first (Sept. 10 in Cleveland) and last (Jan. 6 or 7 in Cincy) games of the season.
Perhaps the Bengals’ most heated and long-running rivalry is with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who will play Cincinnati Nov. 26 in Cincy and Dec. 23 (a Saturday) in Pittsburgh. Upstart quarterback Kenny Pickett has shown a lot of promise, the Steelers’ defense is especially strong and head coach Mike Tomlin is always difficult to beat, extending his streak of seasons without a losing record to 16 last season.
Bengals-Chiefs New Year’s Eve game a top NFL matchup
The Bengals will also face some of their more recent rivals in the ’23-’24 season.
A couple of days prior to the full schedule drop, the NFL released details of the Bengals’ matchup against reigning Super Bowl champs the Kansas City Chiefs.
There’s a reason it was one of the only games officially “leaked” early by the league. The Week 17 game in Kansas City on New Year’s Eve (4:25 p.m. start time) is not only the most anticipated of the season for Bengals fans, it also has a chance of being one of the bigger regular season games of the entire NFL season.
The Bengals’ content team got in on the KC rivalry excitement with a funny video featuring offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. (the Bengals signed the former Chief this offseason) and a relatively stoic Aftab Pureval, the Cincinnati mayor whose over-excited smack talk ahead of last season’s AFC Championship Game was widely derided by fans of both teams.
Pureval took a “say less” approach this time around:
The clip with Cincinnati’s mayor was a part of the Bengals’ full app-themed schedule announcement video.
In 2022, the Bengals defeated the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game, sending Cincinnati to its first Super Bowl since 1989. The Chiefs returned the favor last season, beating the Bengals in the championship game and setting up Kansas City’s Super Bowl LVII victory.
Burrow is 3-1 all-time against the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs.
Other Bengals rivalries re-sparked this season
The Bengals have a slightly friendlier rivalry with the Buffalo Bills, who will return to Paycor Stadium this season for a Sunday night game on Nov. 5.
The Bengals dominated the Bills in the AFC divisional round of the playoffs last season. But the bigger storyline when the two teams face off this season will be the likely return of Bills safety Damar Hamlin to Cincinnati.
Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest on the field at Paycor in the first quarter of the teams’ Jan. 2 Monday Night Football game. Hamlin was rushed to a Cincinnati hospital where he spent several days before returning to Buffalo to begin his recovery. (The MNF game — the first Bengals fans could legally bet on in the state — was canceled and unsettled bets on the game were voided by sportsbooks.)
The Bengals will be seeking revenge against their Super Bowl LVI foes, the Los Angeles Rams, when L.A. comes to Cincinnati early in the season for a Monday Night Football game in Week 3 (Sept. 25).
The matchup will be the teams’ first regular season game since the Rams defeated the Bengals 23-20 in the Super Bowl in 2022.
A preseason joint practice in Cincinnati ahead of last season ended after an on-field brawl between players from both teams. So, although the Rams have fallen off considerably since their championship season (key injuries helped them to a 5-12 record last season), expect this game to be played with a little extra emotion from the Bengals side.
Bengals to play all Ohio State 2023 first-round picks
Ohio State fans who follow the Bengals will get a chance to see all three Buckeyes selected in the first round of the NFL Draft this year.
- On Nov. 12, the Houston Texans come to Cincinnati with former Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud, whom Houston selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft.
- The Bengals will see ex-Buckeye offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. when they travel to play the Arizona Cardinals on Oct. 8. Johnson Jr., a Cincinnati native, was selected by the Cardinals with the sixth overall pick in the draft.
- Ohio State’s third first-round draftee, wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, was selected in the draft with the 20th pick by the Seattle Seahawks, who will play the Bengals on Oct. 15 at Paycor Stadium.
Chase, Burrow to face old LSU teammate
When the Minnesota Vikings come to Cincinnati in Week 11 (either Dec. 16 or 17), it will be a bit of a college reunion for some of the top players in the NFL.
The Bengals’ Burrow and Chase played alongside Vikings star receiver Justin Jefferson on the celebrated 2019 LSU team, which went undefeated on the season, including winning the CFP Championship Game over Clemson. Jefferson and Chase have engaged in some playful trash talk over the past couple of years, going back and forth in the media over who’s the better player.
In the ’20-’21 season, Jefferson set the record for most receiving yards in a season by a rookie in the Super Bowl-era with 1,400 yards. In Chase’s rookie year the following season, he broke Jefferson’s record by going for 1,429 yards.
The Vikings and Bengals last met in Week 1 of the 2021-2022 season, Chase’s NFL debut. The Bengals won that home game in overtime, 27-24, with Chase going over 100 yards with five receptions and a touchdown, while Jefferson had five catches for 71 yards.