Chicago Bears vs Cininnati Bengals: Five Questions with Stripe Hype


As the Chicago Bears prepare for the all-important third preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals, we exchanged questions with our friends over at Stripe Hype to help us get up to speed for the dress rehearsal for the season opener.

Next: Bears vs Bengals: My Answers to Stripe Hype's Questions

The Bengals have bowed out of the playoffs in the Wild Card round the last few years.  What makes 2015 different?  Will they finally get over the hump and win a playoff game or do they finally miss the playoffs this season?

The Bengals have struggled to perform on the big stage, whether it is playoffs or as simple as prime time. The Bengals have brought back Defensive Back Michael Johnson back from his 2014 stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played a large role in the 2013 defense, that ranked in the top 5 in the NFL. The only variable that many Bengals fans aren’t happy is the non-aggressive coaching that Paul Guenther has had since he took over. They have dropped from a top 5 defense to the 21st defense in the NFL, he will be on the hot seat if they stumble again.

The offense will have a healthy Marvin Jones, Tyler Eifert, and A.J. Green. If Dalton can gain some consistency in his play, they could not only make the playoffs but get over the hump and win some games. Hue Jackson’s balanced offense seems to be working in both Dalton’s favor, as well as Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard splitting carries. Balanced offense has been the key to keeping opposing defenses on the toes. I am going to say that they will take the win or bust mentality and get over the hump.

Jay Cutler has taken his fair share of criticism as Bears quarterback and the hefty contract he signed last season, but Andy Dalton got a nice paycheck last season as well.  Is Dalton worth his big contract?  Is he the reason why the Bengals reach the playoffs each year or is he the reason they have lost in the first round the last few years?

Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Dalton’s contract wasn’t as hefty as many believed. All his guaranteed money was in the front part of the contract, so this is really the last year of the Bengals commitment to him if they would decide to cut him. He has a lot of critics as many people heard at the celebrity softball game during the All-Star Festivities, but although some justified, he has been one of the best QB’s since Boomer Esiason to roll through the Bengals organizations hands.
He has done an incredible job in the regular season.

His performance in the playoffs has left some people scratching their heads for sure, but last season was not on Dalton. Injuries and terrible defensive play early on against the Colts made it almost an impossible task to ask Dalton to accomplish. If everyone can stay healthy and he gets protection, he could be in for his best season yet.

Speaking of contracts, wide receiver A.J. Green is due for a big payday.  Do you think he and the Bengals get something worked out?  What do you think he might get in light of some of the recent wide receiver contracts that have been doled out this offseason.  Bears fans and Alshon Jeffery are certainly paying close attention.

This has been a very sensitive subject in Cincinnati so far this off-season. A.J. Green is going to look for Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas, his performance must improve over last season’s injuries and his preseason woes if he wants the money. The Bengals are known for being cheap and tight with money.

They have been in talks and both sides seem positive to get something done, but the issue will be guaranteed money. I would say that Green is going to have to perform. I think it will be in the neighborhood of $13 million a year with up to $30 mil guaranteed for 5 years. Anything more at this point is over paid, anything less is a great deal.

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Marvin Lewis is among the longest tenured head coaches in the league.  What do you think of him?  If the Bengals can’t take the next step this season, is it time for a change at the top?

He is one of the best in-game managers that we know in the NFL. The call in Tampa last season was living proof of his awareness. He is unfortunately at a place where he should be a GM and bring in a new head coach. He is the reason for some of the best drafts in recent Bengals memories, players respect him and stay or come back because of him.

The issue lies with the second question. I don’t know if he can get them to that next level, granted two of his six playoff losses can be attributed to key injuries and players missing. This year is probably the best opportunity they have and if they can prove to stay healthy, they could make a run at the AFC Championship game. Lewis will need some help though from his coordinators if they expect to be a top team in the AFC again.

The third preseason game is sort of the dress rehearsal for the regular season.  What can Bears fans expect to see from the Bengals offense?  Who should Jay Cutler be looking out for on the Bengals D?

The Bengals have been a better home team than on the road, and that so far has been true again this preseason. The Bengals offense will probably be looking to lock up the fourth wide receiver spot on the roster, which means look for Brandon Tate, Denarius Moore, and Greg Little to see passes heading their way more often than the starting three. Dalton will look to his line to solidify and give him better pass protection than they say in Tampa.

The Bengals will be looking for their number four and possibly five defensive tackle. That means Pat Sims, Devon Still, and Marcus Hardison will be trying to make big plays to prove their worth. Darqueze Dennard was out for their Monday night matchup and if he can get back from a groin injury, he will be looking to step up his game to take the number three corner position, although Leon Hall has made a strong statement for it.

What’s your prediction for the game?

Preseason games are always tricky, it all depends on how long first string players play and then how much time the rest of the team sees. I will say that the Bengals take this one at home 17-14. We see an injury that could help make 53-man roster decision a little easier, the hope will be that everyone stays healthy though.

Many thanks to Matthew Wilson for the Q&A.  Be sure to head over to Stripe Hype to check out my answers to his questions.