Providing Andy Dalton starts the game he will be facing the team he spent most of his career, will he provide the Bengals their first loss of the year or will Cincinnati get the win?
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Chicago Bears
Sunday, September 19, 2021 – 01:00 PM EDT at Soldier Field
So, Will Dalton Start?
That is the important question here, to put it very nicely it wasn’t the best performance from Dalton on Sunday night against the Rams. He finished on 206 yards, zero TDs as an interception as his team lifelessly lost the game. He threw further than 10 yards down the field twice, for a combined 21 yards.
There was already a clamoring for rookie Justin Fields to be starting the game and there will be questions all week for Matt Nagy over who will be starting in this game. I wrote earlier in the summer about the decision of Dalton or Fields and while I’m one of the few who likes Andy Dalton, I do feel they’d be better with Fields in there.
They had a few plays with Fields this week including bringing him in on the first drive when they made it to the redzone before Dalton threw a tipped interception, and he rushed in a score, something he did a lot in college with 19 rushing TDs in his 22 games for Ohio to go along with his 67 TD passes. He will definitely make the Bears more fun to watch should he come in.
For the record I think Dalton will start and Fields will get more involved as the weeks go on.
How Did the Bengals Win a Game?
It was a hard-fought overtime win for the Bengals against the Bears NFC North rivals, the Vikings at Paul Brown
It helps that Ja’marr Chase put behind him the drops from preseason and had a brilliant debut game finishing with just over 100 yards and a TD from a play reminiscent of their time at LSU in college. I thought when the games got real he’d be able to step up and it showed.
It was a huge game for Joe Mixon on the ground as well with a revamped offensive line he ran all night with 29 carries for 127 yards and a score of his own. The move to bring back the offensive line coach from his AFC leading year looks to be proving a sound one early in the season.
It should be noted that the Vikings were penalized many, many times for holding in the first half, so while the stat sheet doesn’t credit the Bengals defense for many sacks or pressures, it was due largely to their players being fouled every time they looked like they were going to hit Kirk Cousins.
How Does This One Play Out?
Luckily for the Bears the whole of the NFC North lost last week so they didn’t lose any ground and got one of the tougher games on their schedule out of the way. The return home to Soldier Field will help them and it will be rocking with fans allowed for the first time in 2 years.
Both offensive lines look to be the weak points of these teams and it seems that the Bengals have found a way to generate some pressure finally, so whoever is under center for the Bears could find themselves being rushed. It could mean the introduction of Fields sooner rather than later as his mobility would help keep the chains moving and slow the rush.
The question marks over how much Dalton plays make it a tough game to handicap, but I do think it will be a run-heavy script from both teams with Montgomery and Mixon getting a lot of the ball and that probably means a quick game.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.