Multiple Factors Point to the Cincinnati Bengals Being a Good Bet for an International Game in 2024

There's a strong possibility that the Cincinnati Bengals could play in an international game in 2024 after several NFL host teams were announced.

CINCINNATI — The NFL recently announced the host teams for its 2024 International Series games, and one of them is on the schedule for the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Carolina Panthers will be the home team for the game played in Munich, Germany, this season. They are the 17th opponent for the Bengals next year due to both teams finishing in fourth place in their paired divisions.

The Panthers (and all NFC teams) will have nine home games next year, which on the surface gives the Bengals an 11% chance of being the opponent in Germany.

BetCarolina.com actually has created odds for who the opponent will be, with the Kansas City Chiefs leading the way at +200, followed by the Dallas Cowboys at +350, and the Bengals at +450.

Are the Bengals the Favorites To Play the Panthers in Germany?

But in reality, the odds are much greater for the Bengals for several reasons.

First, you almost rule out the Panthers playing a division opponent in Germany, because the league typically avoids those types of matchups.

There have been 36 games played in London or Germany, and only five (14%) have been divisional matchups. Two of those five have involved the Jaguars, who play a game in Europe every year, making it difficult to avoid AFC South opponents every time.

For non-Jacksonville games, three of the 25 (12%) have been divisional matchups.

MORE: 2024 NFL Opponents — All 32 Teams’ Regular-Season Home and Away Games for Next Year

Another reason to believe Carolina won’t play a division game in Germany is that all three NFC South opponents have played overseas recently. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers played the inaugural Germany game in 2022; the New Orleans Saints went to London in 2022; and the Atlanta Falcons played in London this season.

That whittles the Cincinnati chances to one in six (16.7%).

But we can most likely eliminate some more of the Panthers’ opponents, which include the Chiefs, Cowboys, New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals, and the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Chiefs just played in Germany this season, while the Giants played in London in 2022.

The Cowboys have one of the league’s longest droughts without an international game, dating back to 2014. But the Panthers, who struggled to draw fans late in their 2-15 season, aren’t going to want to give up the lucrative home gate a Dallas game would attract.

Would the league honor that request? Maybe. Would the league kowtow to Jerry Jones’ wishes not to take his Cowboys overseas? Probably.

So now the reasonable list of possibilities is down to three (33%).

Of the Bengals, Cardinals, and Chargers, Cincinnati has made the most recent trip to London, which was in 2019 against the Los Angeles Rams.

The Chargers’ last trip was in 2018, and the Cardinals’ was in 2017. Yet, the Cardinals played a game in Mexico in 2022, and the Chargers played a game there in 2019 — three weeks after the Bengals played the Rams in London.

So of those three, Cincinnati has gone the longest without playing a game outside of the United States.

But there is one more reason for nudging the needle toward the Bengals. Munich is the sister city of Cincinnati, making for a perfect pairing.

There’s also the wild card of the game to be played in Brazil. The host team has yet to be announced for that one.

It likely will be a few months before the NFL unveils the full matchups for the international games. Last year, the announcement came on May 10, one day before the league released the entire schedule.

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