Cincinnati Bengals' schedule 2020: Joe Burrow poised to debut vs. Chargers

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The Bengals' biggest can't-miss games on the 2020 schedule (0:58)

Ben Baby highlights some matchups for Joe Burrow against other noteworthy rookies around the NFL. (0:58)

The Cincinnati Bengals' schedule for 2020 was released Thursday.

The regular season kicks off with the Houston Texans visiting the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, Sept. 10 (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC). The opening doubleheader for Monday Night Football will feature the Pittsburgh Steelers at the New York Giants (7:10 p.m. ET, ESPN) and the Tennessee Titans at the Denver Broncos (10:20 p.m. ET) on Monday, Sept. 14.

Check out the full week-by-week schedule here. Here’s what is in store for the Bengals:

Game-by-game prediction

Bengals reporter Ben Baby is predicting a 5-11 finish:

Sept. 13: vs. Los Angeles Chargers, Loss

Sept. 17: at Cleveland, Loss

Sept. 27: at Philadelphia, Loss

Oct. 4: vs. Jacksonville, Win

Oct. 11: at Baltimore, Loss

Oct. 18: at Indianapolis, Loss

Oct. 25: vs. Cleveland, Win

Nov. 1: vs. Tennessee, Loss

Nov. 8: BYE

Nov. 15: at Pittsburgh, Loss

Nov. 22: at Washington, Win

Nov. 29: vs. New York Giants, Loss

Dec. 6: at Miami, Win

Dec. 13: vs. Dallas, Loss

Dec. 21: vs. Pittsburgh, Win

Dec. 27: at Houston, Loss

Jan. 3: vs. Baltimore, Loss

Strength of schedule: .477, 27th

Breakdown

Rookie quarterback Joe Burrow's debut could be a rare season opener at Paul Brown Stadium when the Bengals host the Chargers. Going back to 2010, this is only the second home-opener Cincinnati has had in Week 1 (the other occurrence came in 2017). Cincinnati is matched up against the NFC East this season after facing the NFC West last year.

Battle of the best

If Burrow wins the starting job, the top overall draft pick will square off against some of the other top incoming rookies. Burrow could face Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, who went sixth overall. The No. 2 pick, defensive end Chase Young, could be trying to sack Burrow when Cincinnati visits Washington on Nov. 22. But the marquee matchup could be on Dec. 6 when the Bengals face Miami, which drafted quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick. Burrow will have the opportunity to show why the Bengals opted to take him instead of the other top options in the draft.

Decent exposure

The Burrow effect is already apparent during the first two weeks of the regular season. The Bengals’ opener against the Chargers will be an afternoon home kickoff, which Cincinnati did not have last season. In Week 2, the Bengals will travel to Cleveland for a Thursday night game and a matchup of two recent No. 1 overall picks -- Burrow and Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, who was the first choice in the 2017 draft.