The Chicago Bears take a short strip to Cincinnati for a meeting with the Bengals. The Bengals are coming off a wild Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was one of the more physical games we’ve witnessed in the new safety conscious NFL. Ryan Shazier went down early after delivering a hit which looked like it was going to result in a disaster.
Shazier was motionless from the waist down on the field, leading speculation that he may have been paralyzed. He did have to go through spinal surgery, and his future with football looks iffy, but he may have avoided the worst possible scenario. That was only the beginning, as the Steelers and Bengals traded blows all night long. It came to a head when JuJu Smith-Schuster took a nasty shot at Vontaze Burfict.
Burfict was taken off on a stretcher, not the first instance of a player getting carted off laying on his back. After the dust settled, the Pittsburgh Steelers ultimately picked up another win to keep pace with the New England Patriots. The Steelers extended their record to 10-2, and hold a convincing lead in the AFC North by three games.
The Ravens can close the gap in the standings on Sunday night, though. The Bengals blew the game, and also blew a glorious opportunity to grab some momentum. Instead, they watched a 20-6 lead dissipate into thin air. The Steelers knocked through a winning field goal with time expiring, leaving no time for Andy Dalton and the offense to get back on the field.
The offense was lifeless in the second-half for the Bengals. It wasn’t exactly Dalton’s fault either, a lot of the blame can be shouldered on his wide receivers. It isn’t often you can look at AJ Green and blame him for anything, but he made a couple of critical drops. You can’t blame Dalton for those mishaps from his receivers, and it wasn’t just Green. The Bengals are heading into Sunday with a banged up roster. Could this open the door for the Bears to find an opportunity? It’s a must-win for the Bengals, who have to win to keep up in the wildcard race. Head below for our free Bears vs. Bengals pick.
Chicago Bears vs. Cincinnati Bengals Betting Odds:
vs. Bengals -6.5(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Bears vs. Bengals Pick:
The Bears are going into Cincinnati with a record of 3-9. Their season is in the tubes. The goal for them at this point is to get Mitch Trubisky some experience and better position himself for the future. It also gives the Bears an opportunity to evaluate Trubisky. They spent a high pick in the first-round on the rookie out of North Carolina and are hoping their investment pays off. It’s really too tough to call this early in his career. He hasn’t been good, nor has be been bad. The Bears are putting the training wheels on him, and it might be time they start to give him some more opportunities.
Trubisky has thrown for 5 touchdowns and 4 interceptions with a completion percentage of 54.9%. Their depth chart at wide receiver is thin, and tight end Zach Miller was injured to take him out for the year. The Bears will run the ball often with Jordan Howard. Howard was less than ideal the last two weeks, rushing for 6 yards against the Eagles and 38 yards on the 49ers. Their offensive line is significantly banged up, including Kyle Long who was placed on the IR. So, the Bears are left with a rookie quarterback who may or may not be the answer, a banged up offensive line, and no wide receivers. Given the offensive line and receiver woes, Trubisky has been doing a decent job.
Chicago is predictably at the back of the NFL offensively. They’re averaging just 275.8 yards per game for 32nd in the league, which is dead last. Additionally, their passing game is last, averaging only 160.2 yards through the air. They can run the ball, and play defense, that’s about where it ends for the Bears. Chicago is averaging only 15.5 points per game. They’re going to pound the ball with Howard all game long. Burfict is out, which may open up some running lanes, however, I think they will be limited without a healthy offensive line. He also isn’t much of a pass catching running back which limits his productivity.
The Bengals are strong against the pass, as they’re 7th in the NFL with 210.3 yards allowed per game. I don’t suspect the Bears bothering with attacking Cincinnati through the air.They will look to exploit the middle of the field with Howard against a defense without Burfict and a banged up Geno Atkins. The Bears will have some success, but their one-dimensional offense is going to be on full display again this week. They’re going to chew up plenty of clock given their game plan on Sunday. Conversely, I can see the Bengals’ offense going through the motions after a physical, taxing matchup on a short week. They likely won’t come out guns a blazing. It should be ugly in Cincinnati, which provides us with a look at the UNDER.
PICK: UNDER 39 (-110)