2. The Bears’ emerging tight end Cole Kmet could have a big day
In the season-opener, Cincinnati gave up only four receptions and 41 yards to Minnesota’s starting tight end, Tyler Conklin. The Bengals’ linebackers looked good, and as usual, both Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell looked great. Cincinnati should feel good about covering tight ends heading into their matchup with Chicago.
Don’t be surprised if Chicago’s tight end Cole Kmet has a good day on Sunday. Kmet was against one of the NFL’s best defenses in the Los Angeles Rams and still had a solid performance with five receptions and 42 yards. He had the second-most targets on the team with seven targets, behind Allen Robinson’s 11 targets.
Kmet in his second season is expected to have a big jump in production. He is very talented and is coming off a solid performance. With Chicago’s offense being pretty vanilla with Andy Dalton at the helm, Kmet will likely get a lot of targets this season. Also, Dalton has typically targeted his tight ends a lot when in the red zone.
The Bengals were against a second-string tight end in Conklin during Week 1 due to Irv Smith’s season-ending injury. Kmet is a different challenge than Conklin and he will be used heavily by the Bears this season.
Cincinnati’s linebackers did look good against the Vikings, but they are young so there will be some inconsistencies. With Kmet standing at 6’6″, putting either Bates or Bell on him will probably not work. The Bengals will need their linebackers to cover well if they are going to halt Kmet’s production.