Marvin Lewis has coined the phrase “challenge the moment” as the slogan for the 2014 Cincinnati Bengals. Now, with the release of the 2014 NFL schedule, we know just how challenging the road to Arizona’s University of Phoenix will be for the Bengals.
Based off of last year’s team records, Cincinnati’s 2014 schedule ranks as the 23rd toughest in the NFL (.469 opponent winning percentage):
Week 1: @ Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, September 7 at 1pm EST (CBS)
Week 2: vs Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, September 14 at 1pm EST (CBS)
Week 3: vs Tennessee Titans, Sunday, September 21 at 1pm EST (CBS)
Week 4: BYE
Week 5: @ New England Patriots, Sunday, October 5 at 8:30pm EST (NBC)
Week 6: vs Carolina Panthers, Sunday, October 12 at 1pm EST (FOX)
Week 7: @ Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, October 19 at 1pm EST (CBS)
Week 8: vs Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, October 26 at 1pm EST (CBS)
Week 9: vs Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, November 2 at 1pm EST (CBS)
Week 10: vs Cleveland Browns, Sunday, November 9 at 8:25pm EST (NFL Network)
Week 11: @ New Orleans Saints, Sunday, November 16 at 1pm EST (CBS)
Week 12: @ Houston Texans, Sunday, November 23 at 1pm EST (CBS)
Week 13: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, November 30 at 1pm EST (CBS)
Week 14: vs Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, December 7 at 1pm EST (CBS)
Week 15: @ Cleveland Browns, Sunday, December 14 at 1pm EST (CBS)
Week 16: vs Denver Broncos, Monday, December 22 at 8:30pm EST (ESPN)
Week 17: @ Pittsburgh Steelers, Monday, December 28 at 1pm EST (CBS)
In the first nine games, the Bengals will play six times at Paul Brown Stadium and only three on the road. On the other hand, the remaining seven games will feature Lewis’ team playing five times on the road as opposed to just twice at PBS.
Games of Note:
Week 5 against the Patriots will be a rematch of the 2013 game that saw Mike Zimmers‘ defense stifle Tom Brady in a way that hadn’t happened in quite a few years. Look for Brady to come out with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove.
Week 9 at home against the Jaguars has the makings of a true “trap” game. The Bengals will be hosting the Jaguars following a tough four game stretch (at NE, CAR, at IND, vs BAL). This game is very reminiscent to the one the Bengals lost to the Miami Dolphins last season.
Week 11 in New Orleans will be a test for the young Bengals. As a team that wants to be considered “elite”, they need to win tough games on the road against playoff-caliber teams (as Carolina did last season). With Houston and Tampa Bay following the Saints’ game, expect the Bengals to throw the entire playbook at Rob Ryan’s defense.
Week 16 the Bengals host Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. As with the Saints’ game, Cincinnati will be looking to make a statement. A win against Manning could provide a great deal of momentum heading into the playoffs.