Everything is relative in the NFL. Parity is the name of the game and the league will humble teams quickly.
While on paper it’s easy to look at the Bengals as a team that has won six games the last two years, but that is a little misleading.
Obviously, Joe Burrow missed six games last year but he is a young, rising star quarterback and he has some weapons.
There’s a lot of holes on the roster, which we’ll get in to, but I don’t think this game can really be chalked up as an “easy” game for the Bears team we saw last Sunday.
SB Nation site: CincyJungle.com
Record: 1-0, first in AFC North **tied
Last week: 27-24 win over Minnesota Vikings
Game day, time, TV: Sunday, noon CT, FOX
Bears all-time record against: 5-6
Historical meetings: The last time the Bears hosted the Bengals at Soldier Field was week one of 2013.
The Bears opened the scoring with a Jay Cutler to Martellus Bennett touchdown, which culminated after Charles Tillman intercepted an Andy Dalton pass.
Dalton bounced back to throw two touchdowns to A.J. Green in the first half and the Bears drew within four on a late second quarter field goal.
The Bears and Bengals traded scores in the third quarter, with BenJarvis Green-Ellis scoring on a five yard touchdown and Matt Forte running in from one yard our on the next drive.
Each team then turned the ball over (Bears on a Cutler interception; Bengals on a Mohamed Sanu fumble) before Jay Cutler found Brandon Marshall for a 19 yard touchdown. The Bears were able to forced a Bengals punt and then run out the last six and a half minutes on a run-heavy drive led by Michael Bush.
Bears won 24-21 to kick off the M*rc Tr*estman era.
Last meeting: 33-7 Bears win in Cincinnati in 2017.
Highlights of that game include over 200 yards rushing between Jordan Howard (147) and Tarik Cohen (80) and 107 receiving yards from Kendall Wright.
Injury report: The Bengals listed six players on their Wednesday injury report but two of them (Joe Burrow and Brandon Wilson) were full participants.
Limited: LB Markus Bailey (knee), CB Darius Phillips (thigh)
Did not participate: S Ricardo Allen (hand/hamstring), CB Trae Waynes (hamstring)
Offense: Early in the season here, but the Bengals rank 14th on offense in points and 21st in yards.
They rank 22nd in passing yards and seventh in rushing yards.
Quarterback Joe Burrow (72.1 pct cmp./261 yds./2 TD/0 INT) appears to have bounced back strongly after the devastating knee injury that cut his promising rookie campaign short.
Burrow’s weapons are former college teammate rookie Ja’Marr Chase (5 rec./101 yds./1 TD), who exploded out of the gate last week, Tee Higgins (4/58/1) and Tyler Boyd (3/32/0).
One of the Bengals’ biggest weapons though is running back Joe Mixon (29 att./127yds./1 TD). Spelling him is Samaje Perine (5/22/0).
The Cincinnati offensive line continues to be an issue though, allowing five sacks last week alone, second most in the league. Last year he was sacked 32 times, ninth most and he only played 10 games. The team allowed 48 sacks total.
Defense: After only one game the Bengals rank 16th in points allowed and 20th in yards allowed.
Their rushing defense ranks sixth but their passing defense ranks 29th.
The disparity comes after holding the Vikings to 67 rushing yards last week but allowing Kirk Cousins and Co. 336 yards through the air.
Waynes is listed as the starter opposite Chidobe Awuzie (2 PD/6 tkls), but with him out with an injury, up steps Eli Apple (6 tkls) the former first round pick of the Giants. Leading tacklers for the Bengals are safety Jessie Bates III (9) and LB Germaine Pratt (9).
DTs B.J. Hill (2 sks/2 TFL/2 QB hits) and Larry Ogunjobi (1 sk/2 TFL/1QB hit) tallied sacks in week one.
Pratt also had a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Key match ups: The Bears defensive line should definitely have a match up advantage this week. That means that Khalil Mack shouldn’t be a ghost and if Eddie Goldman is back or Bilal Nichols and Robert Quinn should all have favorable match ups.
The Bengals have allowed a lot of sacks in the past season and a game and haven’t seen a load of improvement.
With that said though, the Bengals’ receiving corps against the Bears’ suspect secondary is going to have Bears fans worried. Joe Mixon had no problems running against Minnesota’s line last week, but hopefully if Goldman is back, the Bears will prove a little harder in that area.
For the offense, one might look at the stats and think that the Bengals’ run defense is stout, but Minnesota had to get away from the run after falling behind 21-7 in the first half.
Bears receivers will hopefully have an easier time and be able to run deeper routes. Minnesota had four pass plays of over 20 yards last week.
- Joe Burrow had his first career game-winning drive last week
- The Bears are 2-1 in home openers under Matt Nagy
- The Bengals are the 10th youngest roster in the NFL, the Bears are the oldest
- The Bengals were 1-6-1 on the road last season and are 1-14-1 on the road under Zac Taylor
- The Bears were 3-5 at home last season
- David Montgomery has scored a touchdown in seven straight games, six straight with a rushing touchdown.
- Last season against his former team Andy Dalton threw for 185 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-7 Cowboys win
Will the Bears get an easy win this week or is it going to be closer than it should? What do the Bears need to do to win?