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NFL Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals Game 1: Can the Bengals Start Strong against the Chicago Bears?

Carlos Dunlap

Greg Bartram – USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals are looking to have themselves another playoff-bound season in 2013 to make it three out of three since they drafted quarterback Andy Dalton.

This season, the Bengals decided to focus on their offense, giving Dalton every possible opportunity to pass the ball, while also giving him a great backfield tandem in BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard to be able to hand the ball of to on short passes and screen passes also.

Head coach Marvin Lewis made it very clear with his draft that he wanted to win in 2013 using their offense, and very little was going to get in the way of that. It seems the team is moving to a new two tight end system of offense, completely shifting the way the Bengals will move the ball down the field and hopefully confusing opposing defenses in the process,

On defense, the 1-2 of Geno Atkins and Michael Johnson attacking quarterbacks has now added a three — defensive end Margus Hunt. Wth him added to the mix, the Bengals are sure to always have a strong blitz threat on the field for every play.

The Bengals also have hopefully taken steps towards clearing up the mess they had at the safety position by drafting strong safety Shawn Williams in the third round. This was the biggest hole the defense had to fill in the offseason, and selecting one of the hardest workers and hardest hitters in the NCAA in 2012 will likely turn out to be an excellent choice for the 2013 season.

The Chicago Bears went a different way with the draft this year. The main thing that they needed to do was to strengthen an offensive line that allowed 44 sacks and 87 hits on QB Jay Cutler last season, and that’s what they have managed to do.

With their first-round pick, they went with offensive guard Jake Long, a player who only played one season at Oregan State and only started on Week 9. But considering that he was still selected 20th overall despite all that, you’d have to think Long has a lot of potential.

The Bears also selected Jordan Mills, an offensive tackle out of Louisiana Tech in the fourth round. Expected to be taken in the second round because of his size, his power and his awareness, Mills lasted to the fourth round and was a steal for the Bears.

The Bears are hoping that they have done what they needed to do to ensure Cutler has an extra few seconds on each play to show why he is considered to be one of the most accurate passers in the NFL. Johnson and Atkins are going to be coming hard at him all day, so Long and Mills will need to show what they’re made of pretty quickly.

On the defense, the Bears already have some of the top lineman in the NFL with Lance Briggs and D.J. Williams. Adding Johnathan Bostic in the second and Khaseem Greene in the fourth round could ensure a slow day for the Bengals backfield. With 237 tackles, 19.0 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks, seven pass breakups, five interceptions and two forced fumbles, Bostic will give the Bengals offense a very hard time.

Prediction:

When the NFL Schedule was originally released, I thought the Bengals would lose this game for sure, but now I’m leaning the other way. The new-look Bengals offense will give the Bears defense something to be worried about all day and although we haven’t seen it in action, it looks like an offense that will overwhelm most defenses in 2013.

In order for the Bears to be able to come away with a win here, they’re going to need to outscore Dalton, and to do that, their new offensive linemen need to be able to stop Atkins and Johnson better than most lines did last season.

Cincinnati Bengals 24 – 20 Chicago Bears