The Bengals might have surprised some people with their Super Bowl run in 2022, but a run to a second straight AFC championship eliminated any doubts about their future as contenders in the league.
Cincinnati made improvements on its offensive line in the previous offseason, signing Ted Karras, Alex Cappa and La'El Collins, while drafting Cordell Volson. However, by the time the Bengals reached the divisional round of the playoffs, Cappa, Collins and left tackle Jonah Williams were all out due to injury, leading to more offensive line woes that contributed to their season ending in Kansas City.
But after signing left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. to add to the protection in front of Joe Burrow, the Bengals' offense only looks better in 2023. The receiving corps still features Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, arguably the best wide receiver trio in the league.
The 2023 season might also be one of the best opportunities left for the Bengals to win their first Super Bowl. Higgins, Boyd and Williams are all lined up for free agency after the season, as well as defensive standouts like linebacker Logan Wilson, defensive tackle D.J. Reader and corner Chidboe Awuzie. And with Burrow poised to receive a major extension before the season, and Chase likely to get his own big deal after the season, Cincinnati will have to find more inexpensive options to fill key positions.
Cincinnati will face a challenging path to another AFC championship in 2023, that will include facing three teams in the top five for Super Bowl odds, per BetMGM.
Here is a complete breakdown of the Bengals' 2023 schedule, including dates, start times and analysis for their slate of games.
Cincinnati Bengals schedule 2023
|Week||Date||Opponent||Kickoff time (ET)||TV channel|
|1||Sept. 10||at Browns||1 p.m.||CBS|
|2||Sept. 17||vs. Ravens||1 p.m.||CBS|
|3||Sept. 25||vs. Rams (MNF)||8:15 p.m.||ESPN|
|4||Oct. 1||at Titans||1 p.m.||Fox|
|5||Oct. 8||at Cardinals||4:05 p.m.||Fox|
|6||Oct. 15||vs. Seahawks||1 p.m.||CBS|
|8||Oct. 29||at 49ers||4:25 p.m.||CBS|
|9||Nov. 5||vs. Bills||8:20 p.m.||NBC|
|10||Nov. 12||vs. Texans||1 p.m.||CBS|
|11||Nov. 16||at Ravens (TNF)||8:15 p.m.||Amazon Prime|
|12||Nov. 26||vs. Steelers||1 p.m.||CBS|
|13||Dec. 4||at Jaguars (MNF)||8:15 p.m.||ESPN|
|14||Dec. 10||vs. Colts||1 p.m.||CBS|
|15||Dec. 16/17||vs. Vikings||TBD||TBD|
|16||Dec. 23||at Steelers (Saturday)||4:30 p.m.||NBC|
|17||Dec. 31||at Chiefs||4:25 p.m.||CBS|
Bengals strength of schedule
A season ago, the Bengals faced a schedule that wound up finishing with a .507 winning percentage. The Bengals will face a more difficult campaign by 2022 winning percentage in 2023, with their opponents having posted a .510 winning percentage.
According to Sharp Football, the Bengals have the 18th-most difficult schedule in the NFL based on projected win totals from betting markets. They rank second in the AFC North behind only the Ravens, who have the 11th-most difficult schedule in the league.
Toughest tests: The Bengals have hosted the Chiefs in back-to-back regular-season clashes and have gone 2-0 in those contests. This year, the Bengals will be headed to Arrowhead Stadium for the battle between AFC contenders. Cincinnati will also be on the road against the 49ers and Jaguars, two other teams that made the postseason a year ago.
Even if the Bengals will face the Bills at home, Cincinnati will face Kansas City, San Francisco and Buffalo all in the same season, three teams that all appear to be among the strongest contenders for the Super Bowl.
Biggest breaks: This is a good year to be facing the AFC South. There is a chance that the road to sweeping that division involves beating three rookie quarterbacks in C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson and Will Levis. Facing the NFC West also has its advantages with the Rams and Cardinals both fully in rebuild mode.
Facing the Vikings and Bills — two teams that are coming off division titles — will come at Paycor Stadium, along with the wild-card Seahawks. Minnesota also looked like a team last season that over-performed relative to its record, and is considered a popular regression pick in 2023.
Bottom line: Playing in the AFC North is a difficult place to start, with the Ravens, Browns and Steelers all making improvements in the offseason. Adding teams like the Bills, Chiefs, 49ers and Jaguars adds to the difficulty of the road ahead.
But drawing the AFC South and NFC West is favorable to the Bengals. The AFC South features three teams in rebuilding mode, while the NFC West has two. The Vikings also might have made the postseason a season ago, but they appear vulnerable in 2023.
The Bengals have made plenty of improvements this offseason, despite losing two safeties, and still appear to be one of the best three teams in the AFC — if not higher. It would still be a surprise if they did not win the AFC North and take a few games against the other Super Bowl contending squads.
Record prediction: 13-4