The Bengals’ 2009 schedule, released today by the National Football League, features a September home showdown against defending league champion Pittsburgh, and that contest will be the first of three straight games against AFC North Division rivals.
The Steelers’ visit is scheduled for Sept. 27 at 1 p.m., and the Bengals will travel to Cleveland on Oct. 4 and to Baltimore on Oct. 11. Baltimore reached the AFC Championship Game last season, falling to the Steelers.
The Bengals will have an early completion to their crucial run of six division games. Their other three AFC North contests will be played over a four-week span from Nov. 8 (home against Baltimore) to Nov. 29 (home against Cleveland).
The Nov. 29 game vs. Cleveland will be Game 11 of the 16-game schedule, marking the earliest Bengals completion of their division schedule since 1993. In ’93, Cincinnati played all six of its games in the old AFC Central Division by the completion of Game 9.
The Bengals will open the season at home for only the second time in six years, hosting Denver on Sept. 13 at 1 p.m. Cincinnati’s first road game is on Sept. 20 at Green Bay.
Cincinnati’s two home games against NFC teams will be Oct 25 against Chicago and Dec. 6 against Detroit. The Bengals are 10-2-1 in their last 13 home games against NFC opposition, including 9-2-1 under head coach Marvin Lewis.
Cincinnati will close the regular season on Jan. 3, 2010 at the N.Y. Jets. The Jan. 3 date is the latest regularly scheduled close to a Bengals season in franchise history. The 2001 season, however, did not actually close until Jan. 6 of 2002, due to the rescheduling of a September contest that was postponed in observation of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
This season’s last seven games, beginning Nov. 22 at Oakland, will be subject to possible kickoff time changes under the NFL’s flexible scheduling program. Any of the seven games could be switched to night kickoffs on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, and five of the seven -- excluding two 4 p.m. Eastern time starts on the west coast -- could be moved from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The Bengals preseason schedule, announced previously, features an Aug. 27 home opener against St. Louis.
CINCINNATI BENGALS 2009 SCHEDULE
All times are Eastern.
An asterisk (*) denotes a game subject to flexible scheduling.
PRESEASON (day, date, opponent, time)
Fri., Aug. 14, at New Orleans, 8 p.m.
Thurs., Aug. 20, at New England, 7:30 p.m.
Thurs., Aug. 27, ST. LOUIS, 7:30 p.m.
Thurs., Sept. 3, INDIANAPOLIS, 7:30 p.m.
REGULAR SEASON (day, date, opponent, time)
Sun., Sept. 13, DENVER, 1 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 20, at Green Bay, 1 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 27, PITTSBURGH, 1 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 4, at Cleveland, 1 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 11, at Baltimore, 1 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 18, HOUSTON, 1 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 25, CHICAGO, 1 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 1, — BYE —
Sun., Nov. 8, BALTIMORE, 1 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 15, at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 22, at Oakland*, 4:15 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 29, CLEVELAND*, 1 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 6, DETROIT*, 1 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 13, at Minnesota*, 1 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 20, at San Diego*, 4:05 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 27, KANSAS CITY*, 1 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 3, at N.Y. Jets*, 1 p.m.