Cincinnati Bengals vs. Chicago Bears Prediction – Week 2 (2021)
The Andy Dalton revenge game has arrived. The Red Rifle led Cincy to the postseason during each of his first five years at the helm (2011-2015), now he’s trying to guide Chicago to its first win in 2021.
While the fans in Soldier Field would prefer to see Justin Fields under center, Matt Nagy has yet to pull the inevitable trigger. Instead, it’ll be the Bengals all-time leader in completions and passing touchdowns trying to take down Joe Burrow.
For insight into the matchup and a Bengals vs. Bears betting pick, continue reading.
Bengals vs. Bears Odds
The most trusted NFL betting sites apparently aren’t reading too much into week 1 results. Cincinnati jumped on Minnesota early and was able to fend off what many believe is a solid Vikings squad. Meanwhile, Chicago never stood a chance against the Rams and was lucky to lose by just 20 points.
Given how real recency bias is – especially after week 1 heading into week 2 – I expected to see this game installed closer to a Pick’em. Had Cincy been a slight favorite, I wouldn’t have batted an eye.
Nevertheless, when something seems like it’s too good to be true, it’s generally because it is.
Bengals vs. Bears Preview
Despite getting blown out on national television, the Bears did some good things on Sunday Night Football that they can build from. David Montgomery was effective versus a stout front seven, totaling 108 rushing yards on 16 carries. Chicago held the ball for over 35 minutes and ran 69 plays (Rams ran 50 plays), plus they reached pay dirt on two of three red zone trips and only committed three turnovers.
That’s the “good,” but unfortunately, there was also plenty of “bad.”
Khalil Mack was virtually a non-factor (1 tackle, 0 sacks) as Chicago failed to apply any pressure on Matthew Stafford. I don’t think it’s so much that the Bears played sloppily, I think it’s more of this team’s ceiling being capped as long as Dalton is calling the shots.
Flip the script and the Bengals are loaded with explosive assets. Any qualms related to Ja’Marr Chase’s preseason drops were quickly put to bed as the fourth overall pick hauled in five of seven targets (zero drops) for 101 yards and a score.
Joe Mixon wore down the Vikings base 4-3 D and Cincy didn’t turn the ball over. Perhaps most impressively, the Bengals defense looked much improved.
A week ago, I would have said that Chicago’s defense is in a tier above Cincinnati’s. Now, I’m holding my breath on that claim.
Bengals vs. Bears Prediction
Did I give away my Bengals vs. Bears prediction? Cincinnati is a team on the rise while Chicago is in the midst of a major transition. I’m a little concerned about the Bengals pass protection as Cincy surrendered five sacks last week, but I still trust Burrow a lot more than I trust the Red Rifle.
The Bengals have weapons galore on offense – from Chase to Mixon to Higgins to Boyd. The Bears are rolling out the likes of Marquise Goodwin and Damiere Byrd and are still leaning on Jimmy Graham near the goal line.
Of course, Nagy could throw a wrinkle into the game plan and hand the keys of the offense to Justin Fields, but then again, why is Andy Dalton even starting in the first place? Oh yeah, because the Bears HC is being foolish.
Nagy was the Chiefs offensive coordinator in 2017 when KC drafted Patrick Mahomes and sat him behind Alex Smith for the entire year. Perhaps the plan is to groom Justin on the sidelines.
The problem is at this rate, Nagy won’t be around in 2022 to see this thing through.
Bengals vs. Bears Betting Pick
My Bengals vs. Bears pick is that Cincinnati wins this game and heads to Pittsburgh in week 3 boasting a 2-0 record. Cincy’s lurking at +125 on the money line at a lot of the top sites, although there’s a little incentive to back the Bengals if you head to XBet (+135).
Having said that, a three-point cushion is hard to pass up. Especially knowing that that the Bears are just 1-6 against the spread as a home favorite since the start of 2019.
When push comes to shove, are you putting your money on a budding Joe Burrow or a decaying Andy Dalton? I know what I’m doing.