Key to the Game:
I believe the key to this game will be the Bengals DL versus the Bears OL. If the star-studded Bengals DL can neutralize Forte and the screen game, and get pressure on Cutler, I think they win. If the young Bears OL can hold their own and provide Cutler time to find his receivers, I think the Bears win. With 4 new starters and a rookie right side, the Bears OL has their work cut out for them on Sunday.
Long and Mills may one day be a great players, but with Geno “The Tazmanian Duck” Atkins pulling double teams, it leaves the Bears 2 options: 1) go one-on-one with Peko, Dunlap, MJ and Harrison – 2 of which will be working on rookies; or 2) leave a TE and RB in to help chip or double team. If the Bears elect to go 1-on-1 with the Bengals, I favor the Bengals in all of those matchups. If the Bears leave a RB and TE in to help, that takes Forte and Bennett out of the play and leaves 7 defenders covering just 3 receivers. Again, advantage Bengals.
For me, it boils down to the Bengals DL vs the Bears OL. I believe the Bengals have the best DL in the NFL and I think the Bengals DL will prove to too much for a young and remade Bears OL.