Finally, live football is set to return to the Queen City.
The Bengals play the Bears on Thursday night in Paul Brown Stadium, which will be Cincinnati’s preseason opener (Chicago played in the Hall of Fame Game).
Though they are relatively close geographically, the Bengals and Bears have played infrequently, with Cincinnati holding a 6-5 regular-season series lead.
The Bengals and Bears have split their last four regular-season meetings, although the Bears have won the last two, including a 33-7 win at Paul Brown Stadium in 2017. Home-field advantage has not been a factor in the series — the Bengals lead 4-2 at Chicago and have a 2-3 record as the home team.
Because this is Preseason Week 1, we should expect both teams to play most of their starters for one series, then go straight to the backups and third-string players. While that sounds boring, many of the Bengals’ biggest storylines are with backups fighting for roster spots and even starting jobs.