Bengals at Bears: NFL picks and predictions

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Many of the experts are calling the Bengals a legitimate threat in the AFC. But Cincinnati has a tough road test to open the regular season.

Making predictions in the NFL isn't easy. In fact, it's a little silly because the information is based on the players listed on paper, combined with what each team did last season. Trends and momentum might have something to do with it, but not until later in the season when teams have established themselves. But football isn't about players on paper. A lot of it is based on luck, anywhere from the weather favoring a team's strength to variables heavily influencing the game; like a ball carrier taking a shot in the forearm from a defender's helmet, squeezing the football out of his basket. You can't anticipate any of that.

But at the very least, it's entertaining reading. Despite many of the experts calling Cincinnati a legitimate threat in the AFC, many are hesitant to pick a winner. That said, the Bengals are slightly more favored against the Bears.

Don Banks gave the Bengals a 10-point advantage, winning 27-17. Of the seven staff at the USA Today making picks, five selected the Bengals over the Bears. Seven of the eight staff members at CBSSports.com have the Bengals covering the spread. Jason La Canfora writes that the Bengals are an easy pick.

I know Cincinnati is the sexy AFC pick, but that's for good reason. Jay Cutler could be running for his life. The Bengals are stout against the run and Mike Zimmer will take Brandon Marshall away and force someone else to beat him. ... I know for sure the Bears have that guy in the passing game. Cincy can spread you horizontally now, and the Bears are long in the tooth on defense. If the Bengals are going to be legit they know they have to win on the road. I like them in this spot.

Pete Prisco, one of Cincinnati's champions within the media, picks the Bengals with a one-point win.

The Bengals have a tough road opener to show if they are truly legitimate as a Super contender, which I think they are. The Bears have a new coach in Marc Trestman, who should liven up the offense. The problem will be the Cincinnati pass rush here. They will get after Jay Cutler. A.J. Green will have a big day. The Bengals will earn a tough road victory.

John Breech calls is a 17-14 win over the Bears.

Chris Burke with Sports Illustrated writes that everything comes down to the Bengals defensive front against the Bears offensive line.

There were those that were split. Of the 13 NFL writers, analysts, and personalities at ESPN, seven picked the Bengals, six favored the Bears. Yet, not every one is feeling the vibe this weekend. The NFL Network's Game Day Crew heavily favored the Chicago Bears with Warren Sapp adding the dissenting vote.

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