As the Chicago Bears prepare to take on the Cincinnati Bengals in their season opener on Sunday, the fans of each team have gathered their own opinions on who they think is going to win. However, they may be overlooking the advantages the other team has.
While it's easy for a Bears fan to look for areas where they can be successful, it's also important to flip the tables and see what the Bengals hope to take advantage of.
For more information on the opponent's take of the game, I reached out to Bengals Featured Columnist Sean ODonnell to get his take on the game.
In addition to being the Bengals' top Featured Columnist, ODonnell is an NFL GameDay Correspondent for Bleacher Report. He is also the co-host of the Bengals Central podcast and the VP of Digital Media at Pro Football Central.
Below are three questions, with answers from ODonnell and a counterpoint.
AD: What is one thing you’re concerned about facing the Bears?
SO: The biggest concern for the Bengals will be on the defensive side of the ball. The offense that Marc Trestman brought to Chicago features a good amount of short passes to get elusive running backs like Matt Forte in space. Cincinnati lost their best coverage linebacker Emmanuel Lamur for the season and may not have the tools to hold up against this type of threat.
AD: Very good point on Forte. The Bears are going to try to use him as a receiver much more this year, and even the elite linebackers will have a hard time keeping up with him.
AD: What is an area you think the Bengals can exploit in the matchup?
SO: The Bears have had a rather shaky offensive line in recent years. It seems improved for 2013, but it remains unproven as a unit. The Bengals have one of the most impressive defensive lines in the NFL and should be able to get constant pressure on Jay Cutler. Sacks and forcing errant throws will be a key for the Bengals' success.
AD: Again, I agree. As improved as the Bears line may be, they're still going to struggle with one of the best defensive lines in the league. Kyle Long looked great in preseason, but he'll need help with Geno Atkins.
AD: Who do you think wins, and why?
SO: This is a fantastic opening game. Both teams come in with some great offensive firepower and stout defenses. It really should come down to a field goal in this one. I believe the Bengals come away with a road win here simply because they are facing a Bears team in transition. Chicago still needs more time to adapt to a new system, and the Bengals are lucky to catch them so early in the season. If this same matchup took place in Week 10, I may have had a completely different response.
AD: I agree with most of what you said, but I have a different winner. I agree that the Bears are going to struggle to score points, but I think their defense is capable of winning this game. After hearing about how good the Bengals defense is, the Bears defense is going to want to prove they're the better unit. With Andrew Whitworth's status up in the air, I think Julius Peppers and company harass Andy Dalton and the Bears come away with a 17-14 win.