DAYTON — For only the second time in 11 years, the Bengals get a home game to kick off the 2020 season.
The Joe Burrow era will “presumably” start at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 13, against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Not presumably questioning if Burrow will be the starter, but in this “new normal” nobody knows if the season will be able to start on time.
Zac Taylor’s team gets a pair of prime time games in 2020. The first of those in week two in Cleveland against the Browns. Thursday Night Football in the Dawg Pound on Sept. 17.
Cincinnati will see Baker Mayfield and company twice in the first seven weeks. The Browns are at Paul Brown Stadium on Oct. 25 for a 1 p.m. rematch.
The other prime time game comes four days before Christmas as the Bengals welcome the Steelers to town for Monday Night Football on Dec. 21.
The other marquee game on the schedule would be the return of Andy Dalton to Paul Brown Stadium when the Dallas Cowboys come to Cincinnati on Dec. 13.
Dalton, of course, will be the backup for America’s Team and might spend that day on the visiting sideline.
The Bengals are scheduled to open the preseason in Kansas City against the defending Super Bowl champions. The are also in Atlanta to meet the Falcons with home games against the Vikings and the Colts.
For the first time in four years, the Browns will open their season on the road.
Rookie head coach Kevin Stefanski makes his debut in Baltimore against the defending AFC North champion Ravens.
The Browns then get back-to-back home games, first against the Bengals under the lights and then a week later against former Buckeye QB Dwayne Haskins and the Washington Redskins.
Cleveland’s other prime time game is a Week 14 match up at home against the Ravens on Monday Night Football on Dec. 14.
The Browns play back-to-back conference road games in October against the Steelers and the Bengals.
Cleveland then closes the season with road games in four of the last six weeks. Back-to-back at Jacksonville and Tennessee.
Then, after the Monday night game with the Ravens, they have two in a row in the same stadium. First against the Giants at MetLife Stadium and then seven days later back to New Jersey against the Jets.
The Browns open the exhibition season with back-to-back road games, first in Chicago and Week two at Green Bay. They are set to host Minnesota and then Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to close out the preseason.
The Bengals and Browns have the same bye week in 2020. They also get a break exactly at the midway mark of the season in Week nine.