Where: Soldier Field in Chicago, IL
When: Sunday, 9/19 @ 1:00 PM EST
How to watch: FOX TV (Channel 19 locally)
TV Crew: Kevin Kugler (play-by-play), Mark Sanchez (analyst) and Laura Okmin (reporter).
Line: Bears -2.5
Over/Under: 45.5 points
The NFC North will still be looking for its first win of the 2021 campaign when Andy Dalton and the Chicago Bears host Joe Burrow and the Bengals in a Week 2 tilt in Chicago. The Bengals look to move to 2-0 against not only the NFC North, but on the season.
Bengals’ S Ricardo Allen joins Trae Waynes on the sidelines this week. Allen sustained a strained hamstring and a broken hand in his rather impressive debut for Cincinnati. These two are the only guys expected to be out for the Bengals.
Bears’ NT Eddie Goldman looks to be on his way to an “out” label ahead of kickoff, which would bode well for the Bengals as Goldman is a force in the middle of their defensive line. Chicago is also dealing with tons of injuries on an already questionable offensive line.
Bengals’ fans should have a ton of things to like about this matchup. The Chicago Bears are a lot like the Minnesota Vikings. Both teams seem to always have a natural DNA in them that wins games with a strong running game and a nasty defense. However, the Bears just are not that intimidating where they want to be. They don’t have the same level of RB as the Vikings do, although Montgomery is still great. They don’t have a duo as good as Thielen and Jefferson. Their secondary got torched in week 1 and from a lot of reports, looked lost all camp. And finally, Andy Dalton just isn’t good anymore. No defense, especially one playing with as much confidence as this Bengals one is right now, fears him.
The Bengals will probably find out quickly that running the ball won’t be as easy as it was against Minnesota. At the same time, they should also find out that their passing attack will be what moves the ball and scores points. Just like they did in the latter half of the second quarter against the Vikings. The Bears still impose a good front seven led by Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks. So the coaching staff should have a game plan to get the ball safely out of number 9’s hands.
X-Factor: Bengals DL vs Bears OL
Prediction: A defensive line that dictated momentum for most of the week 1 win against Minnesota should wreck Chicago’s entire game plan. Andy Dalton is still seeing ghosts from 2018 and isn’t playing any better. His main target is Allen Robinson II, who should be shadowed for most of the game by Chidobe Awuzie. I think the Bengals hit on a deep ball early in this game that helps them take an early lead. Not allowing the Bears to get comfortable running the ball will be very important, as the Rams showed everyone on Sunday Night Football. Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard will have field days once the Bears are forced to pass. Awuzie gets his first interception as a Bengal, and Cincinnati takes over Chicago. The Bengals beat the Bears 27-14.
MVP: Trey Hendrickson