When the Bengals Have the Ball…
The Bengals offense ranked 22nd last season and returning mostly the same cast, you shouldn’t expect to see too much different. The Bengals will try to establish a ground game and get opportunities downfield on play action passes to AJ Green. Expect the Bengals to challenge the middle of the field, historically a weakness in the Cover-2 and with a recovering Williams or the inexperienced Bostic, Jermaine Gresham or Tyler Eifert could have a big day. Expect Giovani Bernard to zigzag his way through Bears defenders.
Whitworth’s absence at left tackle could really hurt the Bengals, as Julius Peppers could feast on his backup. It will be interesting which co-starter gets the nod at the other DE. It should be Corey Wootton over McClellin, but who knows. Both will need to have big games, especially if the Bengals shift their protections to help on Peppers.
Henry Melton returns for the first time since the first series of the first preseason game, when he was injured with a concussion. It will be interesting to see how Melton’s conditioning is after missing a month. Nick Collins has shown well in his stead and will play a big role in the rotation.
When the Bears Have the Ball…
Who knows what to expect? The Bears will unveil Marc Trestman’s full offense for the first time on Sunday. You can expect the Bengals to challenge rookies Kyle Long and Jordan Mills with a bunch of stunts and blitzes. Expect to see a steady dose of Matt Forte through the air as well as on the ground.
Jay Cutler will need to spread the ball around and cannot rely on just Brandon Marshall, as you can expect the Bengals to use bracket coverage on Marshall. Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett should be excellent red zone options, especially if Marshall is doubled.
It will all come down to Cutler. If he can maintain his composure under fire against one of the top defenses in the league, the Bears could ring in the Trestman era with a win. If Jay reverts to his old ways, it could be a long day for the Bears.
The Bears might have to take a step back before they can take a step forward. Rolling out a brand new offense against one of the top defenses they’ll face all season is less than ideal. And so is the result.
Bengals 23 – Bears 19
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