The NFL released its regular-season schedule Thursday night, and the Cincinnati Bengals are in line for three primetime games for the third time in the last four years.
They will face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football in the Sept. 16 home opener, and they will travel to Miami on Oct. 31 for a Thursday night game on NFL Network. The other primetime game is Dec. 15 in Pittsburgh on Sunday Night Football on NBC, but that game could end up getting flexed to the afternoon if the network deems another game to be more attractive.
The Bengals open the season on the road at Chicago on Sept. 8, marking the first time in franchise history the team has to open on the road four consecutive years.
Here is a game-by-game look:
Week 1, Sept. 8, at Chicago, 1 p.m.: The Bengals begin the season against an NFC team for the first time since 1997 when they beat the Arizona Cardinals 24-21 at Cinergy Field. Cincinnati leads the all-time series against the Bears 6-3 and has won four of the last five.
Week 2, Sept. 16, vs. Pittsburgh, 8:40 p.m.: For the fourth time in franchise history the Bengals will play their home opener in primetime. They are 2-1 in the previous three. This also will mark the earliest in a season Cincinnati has faced Pittsburgh since a Week 2 meeting in 1989. The Steelers lead the all-time series 52-33.
Week 3, Sept. 22, vs. Green Bay, 1 p.m.: This will be the Packers’ first visit to Paul Brown Stadium since 2005 when a fan named Gregory Gall ran on the field and stole the ball from Brett Favre as Green Bay was driving for the tying touchdown. The Bengals lead the series with the Packers 6-5.
Week 4, Sept. 29, at Cleveland, 1 p.m.: This is the ninth consecutive season the first round of the Battle of Ohio has been staged by Week 4. The Bengals lead the all-time series 42-36.
Week 5, Oct. 6, vs. New England, 1 p.m.: The Patriots visit Paul Brown Stadium for the first time since a Monday night game in 2007. New England leads the all-time series 14-8, winning four in a row.
Week 6, Oct. 13, at Buffalo, 1 p.m.: When asked about the schedule earlier this week, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton said “I just hope we play Buffalo early.” It shouldn’t be too cold in mid October, but the Bills will have the advantage of 10 days rest after playing a Thursday game the previous week. Buffalo leads the all-time series 15-10 and has won 10 of the last 11.
Week 7, Oct. 20, at Detroit, 1 p.m.: The Bengals head to Ford Field for the first time since they clinched the 2005 AFC North title there. Cincinnati leads the all-time series 7-3, winning seven of the last eight.
Week 8, Oct. 27, vs. New York Jets, 4:05 p.m.: The circus that is Tim Tebow and the Jets was in town for a preseason game last year, and the Jets were at PBS for a playoff game in 2009, but this will be the first regular-season visit since 2007. The Jets lead the all-time series 15-7, winning nine of the last 10.
Week 9, Oct. 31, at Miami, 8:25 p.m.: The Bengals snapped a nine-game primetime losing streak with a Thursday night road win last year in Philadelphia, so they’ll be looking to make it two in a row on NFL Network on Halloween night.
Week 10, Nov. 10, at Baltimore, 1 p.m.: The Bengals will get the benefit of 10 days rest before the facing the defending Super Bowl champions for the first time this season. The Bengals haven’t won in Baltimore since 2009.
Week 11, Nov. 17, vs. Cleveland, 1 p.m.: The Browns haven’t won in Cincinnati since 2008, a streak the Bengals will try to build on in the Battle of Ohio wrapup.
Week 12, Nov. 24, BYE: This is the latest the Bengals have had their bye week since 1999 when it came in Week 15.
Week 13, Dec. 1, at San Diego, 4:25 p.m.: The Bengals head to sunny San Diego nearly a year to the day after posting a come-from-behind 20-13 win on Dec. 2, 2012. The Chargers still lead the all-time series 19-12.
Week 14, Dec. 8, Indianapolis, 1 p.m.: The Colts lead the all-time series 16-9 and has won seven the last eight meetings, with the lone Bengals win coming in 2011 at PBS.
Week 15, Dec. 15, at Pittsburgh, 8:30 p.m.: If NBC doesn’t flex to a more attractive game to broadcast, this will mark the first time in Bengals history they have played the same team twice in primetime in the same regular season.
Week 16, Dec. 22, vs. Minnesota, 1 p.m.: Led by NFL rushing champion Adrian Peterson, the Vikings will visit PBS for the first time since 2005. Minnesota leads the all-time series 6-5, but the team hasn’t won in Cincinnati since 1992.
Week 17, Dec. 29, vs. Baltimore, 1 p.m.: For the fourth year in a row the Bengals and Ravens will meet in the regular season finale. If this game has division title or playoff implications, it could be flexed to 8:25 p.m., giving the Bengals a franchise record-tying four primetime games.