When the Bengals Throw the Ball:
The Bears have quality CBs (Jennings and Tillman) and lead the NFL with 24 INTs in 2012, however, AJ Green presents problems for any secondary and Sanu, Gresham and Eifert should be able to exploit their respective matchups. The concern I have is not the ability of the Bengals receivers to get open, it is the ability of Anthony Collins to keep Julius Peppers off Dalton and Dalton’s ability to limit his INTs against a good pass rush and aggressive secondary.
If the Bengals OL can’t protect Dalton, and if Dalton can’t protect the football, it won’t matter how open the Bengals receivers are. Look for the Bengals to also try a number of dump offs and screens to the rookie Bernard to try and neutralize the Bears defense. I thinks this is a very even matchup, but given Dalton’s penchant for untimely picks, Collins playing LT, and the game being on the road, I have to lean towards the Bears.
This is more by default, because usually I wouldn’t give Lewis and his career .485 winning percentage (79-84-1), conservative style and poor game management the edge…especially over an aggressive “offensive guru,” but, being that Trestman has been out of the NFL and never been a head coach in the NFL, and likely will spend the 1st quarter trying to figure out why the goal posts are in the back of the endzone, I give Lewis the edge. A very unconvincing edge, but an edge nonetheless – and an edge I may take back by the 2nd quarter!