In the wild, what’s more intimidating? A bear or a bengal tiger? Who’s the tougher animal? Who would win a fist fight? Whoever you think would win that animal duel, then that is who the “Dutch Lion” will predict as victor in this Sunday’s game in Cincinnati.
The Chicago Bears (3-9) travel to Ohio to face the Cincinnati Bengals (5-7) on Sunday at Noon central time. The Bengals are favored by 6.5 points as of Friday’s Chicago Tribune. Chicago is in dire straits. Head Coach John Fox’s seat is warming. In fact, it’s flat-out hot! He’s on the hot seat and most media members are calling for him to be fired now, much less waiting for Black Monday. The Tribune even starting publishing the countdown to Black Monday in today’s newspaper. 24 days until Black Monday. As we’ve written before, maybe I’m naive but I think there’s a chance Fox keeps his job. He’s made his fair share of mistakes but ultimately this Bears team he has led for the past three years had less talent and more injuries than almost any NFL franchise. Is that his fault? Partially. Is it everybody’s fault? Yes. Does the Head Coach ultimately answer for the record? Yes. But the record might have nothing to do with it. GM Ryan Pace, who is also sitting on a warmer seat each and every week, might be thinking about getting an offensive minded coach who can best develop QB #10 Mitch Trubisky. If he has mind made up using that philosophy, then I do agree that Fox will ultimately be fired on Black Monday, no matter the final record.
For now, let’s not worry about it. Let’s enjoy watching the young team play some games! This week, the Cincinnati Bengals host the Bears. They’re favored and they should win……which means the Bears will probably surprise Cincy after their emotional Monday Night loss to their bitter rival Pittsburgh. PS Chicago beat Pittsburgh (now 10-2) in Week 3. I know……crazy! Crazier still…..”Dutch” predicted it!
Bears offense vs Bengals defense
According to the NFL yardage stats, the Bears offense is 32nd (out of 32 teams) in total offense, 32nd in passing, 12th in rushing, and 30th in scoring at 15.9 ppg. Aikman’s Efficiency Ratings (AER) has the Bears rated as the 26th best offense. Lately Chicago has just plain stunk on offense and deserves to be ranked dead last. This may be the biggest indictment on Fox, and OC Dowell Loggains. However, don’t forget they’re starting a rookie QB, a 2nd year RB, a rookie 3rd down back, a rookie TE (at times), an injured and depleted, simply awful WR unit, and an injured and underperforming offensive line. Other than that……this Bears offense is awesome! Awesome at being outstandingly mediocre. Ugh!
The Bengals defense is 16th in total defense, 8th against the pass, 28th against the run, and 10th in scoring defense at 19.8 ppg allowed. AER has the Bengals defense rated as the 12th best defense in the NFL. That’s pretty good with only one weakness. They are poor against the run.
The Bengals defense can be dominating at times. The Bears offense is so listless at present that I could see Cincinnati holding the Bears to 10 points or less. Can Chicago take some pressure off Trubisky by running the ball effectively with RB #24 Jordan Howard? EDGE: Cincinnati defense
Bears defense vs Bengals offense
Bears defense is 14th overall in the NFL yardage rankings, 12th against the pass, 15th against the run, and 14th in points allowed at 22.3 ppg. AER has Chicago’s D as the 8th best. The Bears defense hasn’t been as dominant lately without OLB #94 Leonard Floyd and ILB #59 Danny Trevathan, but they are still decent. Only giving up 15 points to San Francisco was good, but they couldn’t get the ball back for their offense either and gave up some clutch plays at the end.
Meanwhile, the Bengals offense is 31st overall (one spot ahead of Chicago), 26th in passing, 30th in rushing, and 24th in scoring at 18.3 ppg. How this offense with QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green is 2nd to last in the NFL in yardage is beyond me. AER has the Bengals as the 24th best offense in the NFL.
Not much of an edge here but I guess we have to hand it to Chicago. EDGE: Chicago defense
Watch Out For………..
RB #24 Jordan Howard – What in the world is going on with Howard and the Chicago running game! Howard is still ranked 5th in the NFL in rushing yards with 885. However, his average yards per carry is only 4.2 and over the last two games combined he’s only gone for 44 yards on 20 carries. That is……..not acceptable. That is……..stinky. That has……..got to change if the Bears have any chance of winning this game. Look for Chicago to establish the run and force feed the ball to Howard.
What we have here this week is a matchup between two of the worst offenses in the NFL (ranked between 24th and 26th according to the Aikman Ratings). However, both defenses are very solid (ranked 8th and 12th according to Aikman). Surprisingly, AER has the Bears at 19th overall while the Bengals are 25th.
The Bears have lost five games in a row now. Will the losing streak ever end? The Bengals won two games in a row prior to their emotional loss to Pittsburgh. They’re playing on a short week but both games were/are at home in Paul Brown Stadium.
The “Dutch Lion” believes the Bengals are simply a better team right now than Chicago. He does have concerns about Cincinnati taking the Bears too lightly, especially after the wild game on MNF which included injuries, suspensions due to targeting, and a Bengals team record 13 penalties for 173 yards! Wo! It was just a dirty rivalry game all the way around.
Of course, Bengals HC Marvin Lewis might use that this week as his #1 motivator to get them refocused for a possible playoff run. If the Bengals were to win their last four games over Chicago, Minnesota, Detroit, and Baltimore they might make the AFC Playoffs with a 9-7 record. It would have to be as a wild card team though since Pittsburgh is sitting at 10-2.
Getting back to that discussion about which animal would win, a bengal tiger or a bear……..well, I guess it depends what KIND of bear. If it’s a grizzly bear…..I’m going with the grizzly. If it’s a Chicago Bear…….not so sure……I’ll take the tiger.
Of course, the “Dutch Lion” is having none of this talk. Lions are the kings of the jungle and to him it doesn’t matter who would win between those two. The lion would kill both the tiger and the bear, single-handedly, or maybe single-paw-edly. So…….
I know what you’re thinking………bottom line me “Dutch”! Well, he just pranced off growling but I heard him say he’ll take Cincinnati to win S/U (straight up) but not ATS (against the spread). He was none too happy about it either.
Cincinnati Bengals 13 Chicago Bears 10