On the offensive side, this game lies in Andy Dalton’s ability to recognize his many opportunities to force miss matches with tight ends Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert along with the short passing game and flat routes. This could easily be a game Giovoni Bernard sees some extra snaps in the passing game as well.
With Chicago’s two starting cornerbacks being Pro Bowl players in Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings. I would expect Marvin and Gruden to spread the field and showcase a number of mismatches that frees up A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu, and keeps the Bears defense on their heels the entire game. Dalton has to consistently find the best option to throw to, as the Bears will be unable to contain all of the Bengals’ weapons.
But the number one factor for the Bengals in week one of the 2013 season opener is the ability to adjust and contain Pro Bowl sack king Julius Peppers. When teams contain Peppers, they force the Bears to make plays with linebackers, and this is when the Bengals should shine Sunday with three tight end sets, along with running backs coming out of the backfield on screens and slants.
This will be a very close and exciting start to the season as these teams are pretty well matched down the roster. The determining factors lie in both defensive lines ability to chase the quarter back out of the pocket, and special teams creating good field position and momentum. This is one of those games where the team with the least amount of turnovers and penalties will come out victorious.