The Joe Burrow era in Cincinnati will begin with a home game.
The National Football League released the 2020 schedules on Thursday night. The Bengals’ first game of the season will be against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sept. 13 at 4:05 p.m.
Burrow was Cincinnati’s No. 1 overall draft pick two weeks ago, and is the presumed starter after the team released veteran quarterback Andy Dalton last week.
The Bengals have a road-heavy schedule early, with four of the first six games coming on the road. Four of their final six games are at home.
The season opener could be a battle of rookie quarterbacks. The Chargers drafted Oregon’s Justin Herbert with the sixth overall pick of the draft after parting ways with veteran Phillip Rivers.
The Bengals’ first road game will also be their first primetime game, as they travel to AFC North rival Cleveland for a Thursday night game.
Cincinnati plays the NFC East in 2020, leading to matchups against high-profile teams Philadelphia, Dallas, Washington and the New York Giants.
The Bengals are at Philadelphia in week three. An interesting matchup will come in week 11 when Cincinnati travels to play the Washington Redskins.
It can potentially be a quarterback matchup of Burrow against his former Ohio State teammates Dwayne Haskins and Chase Young.
Washington drafted Young second, right after Burrow, in last month’s draft. Haskins and Burrow battled for the starting quarterback job at Ohio State. Haskins ended up starting at Ohio State in ‘18, with Burrow transferring to LSU.
Burrow won the Heisman Trophy last year at LSU, leading the Tigers to a 15-0 record and National Championship. The Nov. 22 matchup will be the first time Haskins and Burrow will face each other as professionals.
The Bengals will also host the Giants and their second-year quarterback Daniel Jones on Nov. 29.
The Cowboys come to Paul Brown stadium on Dec. 13 for a week 14 game. Dalton signed as a free agent with Dallas to back up Dak Prescott after his release from the Bengals.
The Bengals’ first game against defending AFC North champion Baltimore will come on the road on Oct. 11 in week five. Cincinnati will close the season on Jan. 3 with a 1 p.m. game against the Ravens.
The first game against Pittsburgh will also be on the road, as Cincinnati will visit Heinz Field on Nov. 15. The Bengals will host the Steelers on Monday Night Football — Cincinnati’s second primetime game — on Dec. 21.
The Bengals could also potentially see the second quarterback taken in the draft in Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins drafted the Alabama quarterback No. 5 overall, and the Bengals travel to Miami for a week 13 game on Dec. 6.
Cincinnati’s bye comes in week 9.
Burrow, a 2015 Athens High School graduate, is 62-7 as a starter in high school and college. He led the Bulldogs to a 37-4 record during the 2012-14 seasons, then went 25-3 during the 2018 and 2019 seasons at LSU.
Cincinnati Bengals 2020 schedule
Date Opponent Time
Sept. 13 LA CHARGERS 4:05 p.m.
Sept. 17 at Cleveland 8 p.m.
Sept. 27 at Philadelphia 1 p.m.
Oct. 4 JACKSONVILLE 1 p.m.
Oct. 11 at Baltimore 1 p.m.
Oct. 18 at Indianapolis 1 p.m.
Oct. 25 CLEVELAND 1 p.m.
Nov. 1 TENNESSEE 1 p.m.
Nov. 15 at Pittsburgh 1 p.m.
Nov. 22 at Washington 1 p.m.
Nov. 29 NY GIANTS 1 p.m.
Dec. 6 at Miami 1 p.m.
Dec. 13 DALLAS 1 p.m.
Dec. 21 PITTSBURGH 8 p.m.
Dec. 27 at Houston 1 p.m.
Jan. 3 BALTIMORE 1 p.m.
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Kevin Wiseman is the Sports Editor
for The Athens Messenger.