Oscar Wilde said, “No good deed goes unpunished.”
He must have had some insight about the 2022 season for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Last year, the Bengals were one play away from winning Super Bowl LVI in Inglewood, Calif. before the Los Angeles Rams won their “home” game 23-20.
In 2021, the Bengals played a slate of teams that posted a winning percentage of .529, which figured out to be the sixth-toughest schedule in the NFL.
And after the league unveiled the 2022 schedule last week, the road back to the big show became even tougher.
This season, Cincinnati will face off against teams that went a combined 153-133-1 last year — with a total winning percentage of .535.
The schedule is brutal and includes AFC division winners Kansas City, Buffalo, Tennessee and two NFC division champs in Dallas and Tampa Bay — and the Bengals will play both of them on the road.
Speaking of games on the road, Cincinnati will visit Dallas (12-5), New Orleans (10-6), Tennessee (12-5), Tampa Bay (13-4), and New England (10-7) to name a few of the more difficult games.
In this league, there are no gimmies as the Bengals found out last year when they went to New York to lose to the lowly Jets, which finished 4-13.
This upcoming season, Cincinnati will face off against a few teams with losing records that include the Baltimore Ravens, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns and the Jets.
But don’t count on Baltimore to put up the same result as it did last year (8-9) as quarterback and 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson is expected to return from an injury.
And what about the soap opera that is going on up north in Cleveland?
Aside from the quarterback drama, when they acquired Deshaun Watson, they also grabbed wide receiver Amari Cooper.
The Bengals are well-aware this season in the AFC is going to be a gauntlet.
But this is just another notch in fueling their fire to get back to the Super Bowl.
According to NBC Sports’ Warren Sharp, Cincinnati has the seventh-toughest schedule for 2022.
Last year, they played very well under pressure, especially in the playoffs when they went into Tennessee and Kansas City — and pulled out dramatic wins in the end.
But part of this regular season could be considered a playoff run itself.
During a six-week stretch starting on Nov. 27, the Bengals will play the Titans, Chiefs, Bucs, Patriots and Bills.
There is no doubt the 2022 schedule is ruthless.
They open against Pittsburgh at home and have five prime time games.
According to the Las Vegas oddsmakers, the Bengals’ over/under win total for 2022 is set at 9.5 (-110).
Bengals QB and comeback player of the year Joe Burrow, along with Rookie of the Year wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, now have the target on their backs as AFC champions.
This season will test whether this young core of star talent is a force to be reckoned with for years to come — or a flash in the pan.
The AFC is stacked and winning it will not be easy. The Chiefs have a point to make as does Tennessee.
However, KC lost Tyreek Hill while the Titans lost A.J. Brown, which might remove some of their steam.
During free agency, Cincinnati made some fantastic moves.
They brought in offensive tackles La’el Collins and Ted Karris, guard Alex Cappa, and tight ends Hayden Hurst and Nick Eubanks.
The 2022 NFL draft produced Michigan safety Daxton Hill and Nebraska cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt, two quality DBs.
With the positive moves on the offensive line, and the solid draft picks on the defensive back end, the Bengals are a legitimate threat to make the playoffs — and a bid to play in Arizona, the site of Super Bowl LVII.
My Who-Dey prediction is a 12-5 season, and another shot to win it all – this time in Glendale, Ariz.
2022 Cincinnati Bengals Schedule
Week Date Opponent Kickoff time TV
1 Sept. 11 vs. Steelers 1 p.m. ET CBS
2 Sept. 18 at Cowboys 4:25 p.m. ET CBS
3 Sept. 25 at Jets 1 p.m. ET CBS
4 Sept. 29 vs. Dolphins (Thursday) 8:15 p.m. ET Amazon Prime Video
5 Oct. 9 at Ravens 8:20 p.m. ET NBC
6 Oct. 16 at Saints 1p.m. ET CBS
7 Oct. 23 vs. Falcons 1 p.m. ET Fox
8 Oct. 31 at Browns (Monday) 8:15 p.m. ET ESPN
9 Nov. 6 vs. Panthers 1 p.m. ET Fox
11 Nov. 20 at Steelers 8:20 p.m. ET NBC
12 Nov. 27 at Titans 1 p.m. ET CBS
13 Dec. 4 vs. Chiefs 4:25 p.m. ET CBS
14 Dec. 11 vs. Browns 1 p.m. ET CBS
15 Dec. 18 at Buccaneers 4:25 p.m. ET CBS
16 Dec. 24 at Patriots (Saturday) 1 p.m. ET CBS
17 Jan. 2 vs. Bills (Monday) 8:30 p.m. ET ESPN/ABC
18 Jan. 7/8 vs. Ravens TBD TBD
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