Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from Warren Sharp’s rest disparity analysis of the 2024 NFL Schedule. Click here to read the full article.

The Bengals have the NFL’s worst Prep and Rest schedule of 2024.

It was the NFL’s worst before I even accounted for the insane string of “three games in 10 days” late in the season.

The Bengals play three short-week road games:

  • Week 4 in Carolina on a Sunday after a Monday night game Week 3
  • Week 10 in Baltimore on Thursday after a Sunday game Week 9
  • Week 15 in Tennessee on Sunday after a Monday night game Week 14

No team plays more than three short-week road games this year.

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What should frustrate Bengals fans is that in 2023 they were 1-of-3 teams that had to play three short-week road games (most in the NFL).

So in back-to-back years, the Bengals are playing three short-week road games, most in the NFL each year.

I noted the record of teams in these games earlier (scroll up to read), and it’s not good. Additionally, it’s notably worse later in the season.

The Bengals also play five games against teams with over seven days to prepare for them. Only five teams play more such games.

Cincinnati ranks #24 in “net” games vs. opponents with + or – a week to prepare (-3).

The Bengals Week 12 bye week is partly negated, as the Steelers play on Thursday night in Week 12 and have a mini-bye leading into that game.

The Bengals are one of the teams playing three games in 10 days, and they are at a rest disadvantage in all of them:

  • Week 14 Monday night in Dallas – Dallas has a three-day rest edge because Dallas played the prior Thursday
  • Week 15 Sunday in Tennessee – Tennessee has a one-day rest edge because Cincy is off MNF
  • Week 15 Thursday vs. Cleveland – Cleveland did not play three games in 10 days, so hasn’t been strained like Cincy entering this game

The bottom line is that for most of their toughest games on the schedule, rest is working against the Bengals:

  • Week 2 vs. the Chiefs in Kansas City – KC is off a Thursday game and thus a mini-bye
  • Week 10 vs. the Ravens in Baltimore – Short-week road game
  • Week 14 vs. the Cowboys in Dallas – DAL is off a Thursday game and thus a mini-bye

The Bengals play the #6 easiest schedule based on opponents faced per my strength of schedule calculation.

But their net rest edge is -2 (#9 worst), and the timing of some of their games will be tricky to navigate.