Staff Picks – Bengals @ Bears – Week 2

Image by Zachary Rosenbaum – https://www.instagram.com/zacharyrosenbaumdesign/

Mike Page 0-1

F3. E5. G4. Qh4++. What is this strange assortment of letters and numbers, you ask? They represent the moves for “Fool’s Mate” in a game of chess. If Nagy is indeed coaching football as he would play the game of kings, he better stick to some fundamental concepts so he’s not eliminated early from the 4th round of his head coaching career. Avoid big plays against your defense, protect the King, and get your best pieces into the game! I think Nagy does a little bit more of each this week against the “Bungals” as Jack Wright likes to say, and brings Club Dub back to the locker room.

Bears 24 – Bengals 17

Luke O’Grady 1-0

As long as Andy Dalton is the starter, I won’t pick the bears to win. I’m not being cynical, the team looked absolutely defeated last week. Totally flat. 

But I think change is coming. I think the Bears lose to the Bengals and people start to panic. And Nagy will finally turn to Fields. And then this will all really matter. It will be fun again.

Bengals 24 – Bears 10

Ryan Dengel 1-0

This week is a tough pick. Do I stick with my preseason prediction (Bears win) or react to the team I saw last week? I really could see this game going either way. It would appear that the Bengals, with Joe Burrow under center, are a better football team than last year. A young, talented QB can really impact a team in a positive way…

The Bears looked like a trainwreck last week and Matt Nagy USUALLY has his guys ready to play after a loss. I think the Bears will keep it close, but eventually will fall to a young and eager Bengals team who have some great playmakers on offense. (This Bears secondary is god-awful)  If Nagy stops being so damn stubborn and puts in Justin Fields, that will flip the script to a Bears win; I just don’t see it happening. 

Bengals 24 – Bears 20 (Possible OT) 

Zachary Rosenbaum 1-0

I can’t remember the last time I was this done with the Bears so early in the season. While in previous seasons, the Bears defense gave the team ample opportunities to win games, this year’s defense is absolutely atrocious. Ryan Pace’s strategy of hiring hobos off of Michigan Avenue to play secondary has not panned out for him. I am expecting a big day for Joe Borrow and The Bengals’ WR corps. Add to the fact that Nagy can’t seem bothered to write up a play where someone throws the ball longer than 10 yards, you can see how this can get ugly real fast.

Is it completely hopeless? No! We’re talking about the freakin’ Bengals here. I think the Bears key to any success in this game is the pass rushing. Mack and Quinn need to get off their asses and attack Borrows. Joe was sacked 5 times in last week’s game against the Vikings. If they can get to him, I think the Bears can contain The Bengals and keep the ball from getting shot downfield. However, with that being said I’m not seeing the Bears being able to win this one. Looking forward to the boo birds though. If Nagy and company can’t start off well, the fans are going to be relentless. Prove me wrong Nagy!

Also, Skyline Chili sucks.

Bengals 26 – Bears 20 

Jack Wright 1-0

It’s a small sample size but the Bengals appear to be better at all three phases heading into Sunday’s home opener. How do the Bears pull off a win? 

  1. Pressure Joe Burrow. Burrow was VERY good last week. He posted career bests in QBR, completion percentage, and yards per attempt. (128.8/74.1%/9.6) If Burrow isn’t pressured he will slice and dice the Bears’ suspect secondary. 
  2. Stop the run. Joe Mixon carried 29 times for 127 yards which was the highest total of any player in Week 1. The Bears did a nice job of stopping the run against the Rams – for 3 quarters – but failed to bottle up Henderson when it mattered most – in the 4th quarter. 
  3. Play VASTLY better in the secondary. Last week the Bears’ secondary manufactured blown coverages, poor tackling, and an inability to create turnovers. Meanwhile, Ja’Marr Chase tallied five catches for 101 yards and a TD in his first NFL game. After the game he said, “I’m trying to break every record I can.” He’s electric and might break a couple records against our secondary. 
  4. SCORE POINTS: Run the ball. A lot. Take advantage of Cincy’s defensive weaknesses. It’s past time Coach Nagy called a game predicated on flow, rhythm, and consistency and not cuteness. The offense has received much of the franchise’s attention and if the Bears are going to win the offense will need to produce unprecedentedly. 

I do not see the Bears checking all of the boxes and so I regrettably predict defeat. 

Bengals 31 – Bears 14

Nick Henderson 1-0

After last Sunday, I don’t know how excited any of us are to watch Matt Nagy’s Chicago Bears take the field again, which is unfortunate. On the plus side, we are at Soldier Field, and I expect the stadium to be electric. I’ve been teetering back and forth on what I believe the result of this game will be; This is where I landed: Justin Fields will play at least 10 snaps. Those snaps will be very meaningful and may even be the catalyst to him taking over the job sooner than expected. This may all be a fantasy, but some fantasies come true. I got the Bears this week.

Bears 24 – Bengals 17

Mike Oosterwyk 1-0

This week’s match-up against Cincinnati is really difficult to pick. Not surprisingly, it’s all due to the fact that we have no idea what Matt Nagy is doing with the quarterback position. If Justin Fields starts this game, I’m picking the Bears. It’s that simple.

Hot off the heels of an impressive O/T win against the Vikings, the Bengals are in prime position to cause an upset (and some serious problems) at Soldier Field. Joe Burrow, in his return from a serious knee injury last year, put on a decent showing in Week 1 with 2 touchdowns and 261 yards. Burrow will no doubt have an air of confidence about him this week after what we all saw of the Bears’ secondary on Sunday night.

The Bears’ defense as a whole were uncharacteristically embarrassed on Sunday night against the Rams. They’ve been called out all week, and had their integrity questioned by all sections of the media, and I expect them to silence some of the critics this week and earn back some respect.

I pick the Bears this week with very little confidence, if any at all. We can only hope that maybe, just maybe, we might see more than 5 snaps for Justin Fields on Sunday.

Bears 24 – Bengals 21

Sean Fox 1-0

The Bears looked like an average team in primetime against what should be a championship contender Sunday night against the Rams. The defense was bad. The offense looked like the same offense we’ve seen for the last few years under Matt Nagy. That said, the Bears have beat up on below average teams in that time.

With the Bengals coming into Soldier Field for the home opener on Sunday, I don’t know if you can consider them one of those below average teams anymore after they came back against the Vikings in Week 1. We may be seeing the ascension of the Bengals organization after years in the NFL basement. The Bengals are loaded with weapons on offense (Burrow, Mixon, Chase, Higgins and Boyd) and can score points. This won’t be as big of a test as the Rams were, but the Bears D will have their hands full.

On offense, this is the week to prove that Matt Nagy can actually call an offense. Last week was unimaginative, boring and more of the same we saw with Trubisky. If Nagy can center the offense around Montgomery and take shots downfield at the appropriate times, the Bears should win this game. Like many other Bears fans, I’m not confident in Nagy’s play calling which makes it hard to pick them to win. If the Bears drop this game, it could be the beginning of the end for Matt Nagy.

Bengals 27 – Bears 23

Dan Dundas 1-0 

Last week’s showing was a complete embarrassment, but there were positives to choose from. No one has ever said the Bengals defense is highly vaunted and full of Pro Bowlers, so this is a chance for the Bears offense to get itself right. A healthy dose of David Montgomery and maybe more than one play action pass could feasibly keep the chains moving. Or, Nagy could not see the game that is actually there, and butcher everything. 

The Bengals have much more talent at receiver than the Bears, and may very well come out throwing with Joe Burrow. I think the Bears will keep the run game in check, but Joe Mixon will chip away enough to prevent the Bears from getting off the field at times. I never thought I’d say this, but the Bengals might squeeze one out here. 

Bengals 24 – Bears 20. 

Corie Walsh 0-1

Well, I think I have one more week of optimism left in me, but if the Bears prove me wrong again, I guess I’ll be forced to become more realistic. Among the throng of things that looked REALLY bad last week, there were a couple things that pleasantly surprised me. The first was that we actually got to see Justin Fields play (albeit in the most head scratching of ways at times). But the most important pleasant surprise was our run game, and the fact that we actually appear to have one. Monty looked absolutely beast-like and came out of week 1 as one of the top backs in the league. I’m praying Nagy paid close attention last week and utilizes the run game even more this week. Against a mediocre Bengals defense, I think the run will be key. The Bengals offense appeared to be gaining some traction last week, but let’s remember that it was against the Vikings whose defense has been struggling for years. However, our achilles heel was sorely exposed last week and if Joe Burrow simply throws over the heads of our secondary (or anywhere near Eddie Jackson), we could be in trouble again. Still, with the hope that we’ll see more of Justin Fields, and that our defense won’t get any worse (is that even possible?!) I’m picking the Bears at home. 

Bears 24 – Bengals 17

Logan Bradley 1-0

I think I’m lower on this team than most Bears fans, but I can’t shake the feeling that there might be a bounceback performance this weekend. Let’s start with this: it’s REALLY hard to imagine the defense being worse than they were on Sunday. Maybe I’ll eat those words, but you have to hope Eddie Jackson comes out with his hair on fire after getting torched by fans and media alike, and I’d assume we see Khalil Mack actually show up on the stat sheet. I fully expect the Bears’ pass rush to show up at least a little versus a suspect Bengals offensive line, which should help out our well-below average secondary.

Offensively, if you keep a similar game plan to last week, I think you can do enough to win this game in front of the home crowd. I saw just enough last week to believe this team one of the bottom-five teams in the league. Let’s get a win.

Bears 27 – Bengals 23

Brendan Sugrue 1-0

Aside from David Montgomery picking up where he left off in 2020, nothing really went right for the Bears in their season-opening loss to the Los Angeles Rams. They looked out of sorts, sluggish, and scared to go toe-to-toe with Sean McVay’s squad. Fortunately, the Rams are potentially a title contender and the Cincinnati Bengals, well, aren’t.

Though the Bengals are coming off a narrow victory, they squandered a 10-point lead to the Minnesota Vikings at home to force overtime. Now, they’ll come into Soldier Field and face a Bears team that should be better than their division rival. The Bengals are banged up on defense, particularly in the secondary, giving Andy Dalton a chance to stick it to his old team with more some deep passes for better offensive production. On defense, this unit is going to play angry and motivated after being embarrassed on national television. Joe Burrow was already sacked five times against the Vikings. I’d imagine the Bears front gets home a time or two at least. I don’t expect the “brain farts” will be back this weekend either despite facing a talented Bengals receiving trio. A key turnover will be the difference between victory and defeat.

Finally, history is on the Bears side! They’re 8-0 against the AFC North since 2013 and are 3-0 in week two games under Matt Nagy. That’s a lot of wins and no losses so that has to be good, right?

Bears 23 – Bengals 20

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