- By Jay Morrison Staff Writer
The Cincinnati Bengals will play three of their first four games and three of their final four on the road, and they have just one primetime game.
The last time they played three of their first four on the road was 2012. The last time they played three of final four on the road was 2009.
The last time they did both? Never.
This season also will be the first time since 2011 they aren’t scheduled to play on Sunday or Monday night.
Those are among the notable details of the 2018 schedule, which the NFL released Thursday night.
Here’s a week-by-week look at the path the Bengals will take in a bid to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2015:
Sept. 9: at Indianapolis
Just when you thought the fourth preseason game couldn’t be any more meaningless, the NFL makes the Bengals and Colts play in back-to-back weeks as Indianapolis’ Frank Reich makes his head-coaching debut.
Sept. 14: BALTIMORE
The Bengals play a Week 2 Thursday night game for the second year in a row. Cincinnati is 4-5 on Thursday night under Marvin Lewis.
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Sept. 23: at Carolina
Four years later, the Bengals and Panthers finally get to break the 37-37 tie they had in 2014.
Sept. 30: at Atlanta
Tough draw with back-to-back road games against 2017 playoff teams. And the Bengals haven’t won in Atlanta since 1987, losing three in a row there by an average of 18.3 points.
Oct. 7: MIAMI
Vontaze Burfict’s first game back from suspension comes at home against the No. 29 rush offense in the league last year.
Oct. 14: PITTSBURGH
The Steelers have won five straight and eight of nine at Paul Brown Stadium.
Oct. 21: at Kansas City
This will be the fifth road game against the Chiefs in the Lewis era, tying it for the most with the Jets among non-division opponents.
Oct. 28: TAMPA BAY
The Buccaneers have won four in a row in Cincinnati, which is tied with Houston for the second longest active streak in the league behind the Steelers.
Nov 4: Bye week
Nov. 11: NEW ORLEANS
The Bengals wrap their run through the NFC South and try to improve on their 5-9-1 record in post-bye games under Lewis.
Nov. 18: at Baltimore
This is the first time since 2009 the Bengals haven’t played the Ravens in either the season opener or finale.
Nov. 25: CLEVELAND
This will be the deepest the Bengals have ever gone into a season before facing the Browns for the first time.
Dec. 2: DENVER
A homecoming for Bengals fan favorite Domata Peko and former defensive backs coach Vance Joseph.
Dec. 9: at Los Angeles Chargers
For the first time since 2015, the Bengals travel to the Pacific Time Zone, where they are 5-0 since 2009.
BENGALS DRAFT POSITION PREVIEWS
Dec. 16: OAKLAND
Raiders head coach and University of Dayton graduate Jon Gruden comes to town along with former Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther.
Dec. 23: at Cleveland
The Bengals have won their last four December trips to Cleveland, three of which were by shutout (37-0 in 2015.
Dec. 30: at Pittsburgh
The Bengals are 0-3 in season finales against Pittsburgh, and they have lost seven straight and 11 of 12 December/January games against the Steelers.