CINCINNATI - The National Football League is the only sport that can draw so much interest with the release of its schedule.
Tuesday was no different and like a lot of things these days, information was leaked before it was officially released.
Teams knew who they would be playing in 2012, just not when.
Hours before the schedules for each team were released, news broke on a Baltimore radio station that the Bengals would open the 2012 regular season at Baltimore on Monday night, Sept. 10.
This report was confirmed Tuesday night when the NFL released all teams' schedules. The Bengals are scheduled to open the season Monday night in Baltimore for the second time in franchise history. The Bengals' home opener will be against Cleveland on Sunday Sept. 16, which will mark the 78th Battle of Ohio series.
It will also mark the third consecutive season the Bengals will open on the road and the second straight year Cincinnati's first opponent is a division rival. In 2011, Cincinnati played its first two games of the season on the road at Cleveland and Denver. The Bengals opened the 2010 season at New England.
"We start the season with a great opportunity," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, "playing our division champion and AFC semifinalist (Baltimore) at their place. You never know at this point where the biggest challenges on a schedule are going to be, but obviously it looks like we also will have two very crucial division games to close the schedule."
Beginning in 2012, every NFL team will have at least one primetime game during the regular season. The Bengals are scheduled to play three primetime games; one on NBC (Sunday), ESPN (Monday) and the NFL Network (Thursday).
Cincinnati's 2012 preseason schedule was released earlier this month. Below is the schedule for the team's regular season.
Bengals 2012 regular season
(An asterisk (*) denotes a game subject to flexible scheduling. All times are Eastern.)
Mon., Sept. 10, at Baltimore (ESPN), 7 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 16, CLEVELAND, 1 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 23, at Washington, 1 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 30, at Jacksonville, 4:05 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 7, MIAMI, 1 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 14, at Cleveland, 1 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 21, PITTSBURGH (NBC), 8:20 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 28, — BYE —
Sun., Nov. 4, DENVER, 1 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 11, N.Y. GIANTS, 1 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 18, at Kansas City*, 1 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 25, OAKLAND*, 1 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 2, at San Diego*, 4:15 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 9, DALLAS*, 1 p.m.
Thurs., Dec. 13, at Philadelphia (NFL Network), 8:20 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 23, at Pittsburgh*, 1 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 30, BALTIMORE*, 1 p.m.