The Sun-Times’ experts offer their picks for the Bears’ home opener against the Bengals:
I visualize coach Matt Nagy trying to open up the Bears’ passing offense this week, which sounds like a good idea, until I visualize the Bears’ offensive line. Then I visualize trouble. Justin Fields, Andy Dalton’s backup, probably will see more action against the Bengals than he did against the Rams. I hope he’s still standing come Sunday evening. Season: 1-0.
If anyone can explain Nagy’s strategy with Fields, please do so. Joe Burrow started 10 games last year for the Bengals and threw for 2,688 yards and 13 TDs. Yes, he got hurt. But so does everyone. Burrow threw for 261 yards and two TDs last week in a win over the Vikings. Fields? Five plays. Ten yards passing. Maybe this week? Season: 1-0.
A franchise that finished in last place the last three seasons and needed 70 minutes to beat the Vikings at home last week isn’t intimidating. The bet here is the Bears’ offense opens up (a bit), the defense clamps down (a bit) and Nagy avoids what would be one of the most inexcusable losses of his tenure. Season: 1-0.
The Bengals are on their way up, but they aren’t there yet. A home game against them is very convenient for the Bears after their season-opening debacle. Everything should look at least a little bit better against a lesser opponent than the Rams, and the Bears will take a game they can’t possibly afford to lose. Season: 1-0.
With everyone down on the Bears after their discouraging performance against the Rams, they’ll bounce back in fairly typical fashion against a beatable opponent and — temporarily, perhaps — restore a little bit of faith. Season: 1-0.