Why Week 2 Is Huge For The Cincinnati Bengals

Week 2 isn’t typically a must-win game in the NFL. After Monday night, there will be 15 weeks still to go, but the Cincinnati Bengals have a game against the Baltimore Ravens that can almost be seen as a must-win for a team with Super Bowl LVII goals.

The Bengals were blasted 24-3 in their season opener against AFC North rivals the Cleveland Browns. It wasn’t just that the Bengals lost. It was the overall performance that was troubling. The team is struggling with star quarterback Joe Burrow coming back from almost a month out through injury. He passed for just 82 yards on 14 completions, by far a career low given that his previous poorest performance was 148 yards through the air in a 2021 win over the Raiders.

The must-win nature of their Sunday game comes from who they are playing against. The Bengals face the Baltimore Ravens at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, another AFC North foe and the team tipped to run the Bengals closest for the division. The Ravens started their season with a comfortable – if not head-turning – win over the Houston Texans at home in Week 1. A win over the Bengals here would be huge as it would condemn Cincinnati not only to an 0-2 start but also give them an 0-2 divisional record AND give Baltimore a huge leg up in the head-to-head tiebreaker ahead of their return game against each other in Baltimore in mid-Noveber.

The Bengals started 0-2 last season before rallying and making the AFC Championship game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Getting there again this year – and even hosting the contest – would be much easier with a win on Sunday.

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