The Chicago Bears take on the Cincinnati Bengals at 12 p.m. CST Sunday at Soldier Field. In theory, it’s a rare winnable game for the Bears, who have an extremely difficult 2021 schedule.
Oddsmakers think so too, as Chicago is a consensus three-point favorite vs. Cincinnati. With that said, the Bears got rocked on Sunday Night Football vs. the Rams, losing 34-14. The Bengals, meanwhile, pulled out a 27-24 overtime win against the Vikings in Week 1.
Sunday marks the first time since 2019 that Soldier Field will host fans for a regular-season game. Will Andy Dalton and the Bears be able to stave off the calls for Justin Fields?
Here are the lines for Sunday’s game at Illinois sportsbooks as well as a preview of the matchup.
Bengals @ Bears Week 2 odds
The Bengals opened as four-point underdogs against the Bears, but the line has moved towards Cincinnati.
Here are the best lines at IL sportsbooks:
It’s a sad existence for Bears fans when it felt like their team looked more competent than usual on offense against the Rams — and they still mustered just 14 points.
Dalton generally seemed poised, save for a bad first-quarter interception to kill an otherwise promising drive. And yet, he still averaged 5.4 yards per attempt. The Bears dinked and dunked all night, with Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney each averaging less than six yards per catch.
Chicago was able to move the ball well enough, racking up 322 yards of offense. David Montgomery gained 108 yards on 16 carries, and for all of their struggles in pass protection, the interior of the Bears’ offensive line was solid.
It will be interesting to see whether or not Montgomery can have better success against the Bengals than Dalvin Cook, one of the best running backs in the league. Cook averaged just 3.1 yards per carry against Cincinnati.
Kirk Cousins, however, threw for 351 yards and two touchdowns. If Week 1 was any indication, the Bengals are more vulnerable through the air than they are on the ground. Can Dalton take advantage?
Chicago is going to need to be more aggressive if it wants to take meaningful offensive strides in Week 2. Robinson’s route tree says it all:
— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) September 13, 2021
In the Bears’ defense, they were on their fourth-string left tackle by the second half of the Rams game. Still, in 2021, it’s going to be difficult to put up enough points to compete by checking the ball down all game.
Especially considering how the Bears’ defense looked on Sunday.
Joe Burrow could light up poor Chicago secondary
Perhaps more alarming than the Bears’ underwhelming offense was their downright brutal performance in pass coverage.
Matthew Stafford diced up Chicago for 12.3 yards per attempt and a passer rating of 156.1. The Bears gave up two long touchdowns on blown coverages, and the Eddie Jackson contract extension is looking worse and worse by the game.
Cincinnati’s Burrow is one of the most promising young quarterbacks in the league, and he posted a 128.8 passer rating against Minnesota on Sunday. With Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins on the outside, Burrow has weapons to work with.
The Bears’ front seven was solid against the Rams, and that was expected coming into the season. The secondary was the concern, especially with Chicago letting Kyle Fuller walk for salary cap purposes.
Football looked extremely easy for Stafford in Week 1, and if you’re going to bet on Cincinnati, the Burrow/Chase/Higgins trio vs. the Bears’ secondary would be a main reason why.
The hope for Chicago has to be that the pass rush can get home against Burrow, as the Bengals’ offensive line is not a strength. The Rams held Khalil Mack in check, but the Bengals might not have such luck.
There aren’t many easy landing spots on the schedule for Chicago sports betting fans, save for two games against the Lions. If the Bears are going to go over 7.5 wins for the season, they have to win home games like these against unproven opponents.
It’s a Bears vs. Bengals matchup that likely won’t be a priority for the TV networks. But for Chicago, it already feels like a must-win game.