Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!
Well, two out of three anyways.
As the Cincinnati Bengals gear up for action in Chicago tomorrow, a lot of analysts around the sports world are split on a game between two very physical teams. Expect a lot of smash-mouth hits, and a tiring battle through the trenches between both the Bears and Bengals, as Week 1 doesn’t look like it will show much mercy to either team.
However, there can only be one winner. The only problem is that Stripe Hype’s own Jason Marcum and Alex Peterman happen to disagree on who that winner will be. Jason went with the Bears, while Alex stuck with Cincinnati.
Of course, the only way to solve that problem is through a nice, relaxing, (slightly heated) debate. Check out how the two fared in the discussion below, and see what each has recorded as their final prediction.
What’s on the line? Simply put: Bragging rights between editors. Enjoy.
Alex: As in many football contests, I think the game in Chicago comes down to which team can demonstrate the most balance on both sides of the ball. Soldier Field is tough on any opponent, but I think that team will be the Bengals in this game. The defenses of both teams are hard-hitting and wear offenses down easily, and I think that side of the pigskin will show up to play as we can expect. The balance comes into question much more so on offense. And, in my mind, there’s no question that the Bengals have the more prolific unit in that regard.
Jason: I think Henry Melton will be a force on the interior and keep the Bengals ground game contained, while Julius Peppers will have a field day on the outside and force Andy Dalton into a lot of throw-aways and inaccurate passes that keeps Cincinnati from being consistent in either facet of the offense.
The key for offensive balance for the Bengals is how well Giovani Bernard plays. He can get his yards on runs to the outside (away from Melton and Pepper’s side) while also picking up yards on pass routes to keep the offense moving. He’s a rookie though in his first regular season game, so I don’t think he’s ready to shoulder the offense against the Bears defense.
On the Bears’ side, I think Jay Cutler will be able to make enough big throws to Alshon Jeffrey, Martellus Bennett and Brandon Marshall to keep the defense honest while Matt Forte gashes them for chunk gains the entire game in the same way the Texans did in the playoff loss.