Sunday begins the Cincinnati Bengals’ two-game road trip before returning home to Paul Brown Stadium for their Ring of Honor reveal. There’s already excitement building for their Week 3 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but first, the Chicago Bears stand in their way of a 2-0 start to the season.
Several Bengals had impressive Week 1 performances last Sunday. The five were interested in today have some intriguing matchups as well.
Now in his sixth year, Boyd took more of a backseat in his first game with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins on both sides of him. Boyd looked like his usual self in the times he did see the ball come his way, but is the current version of the passing game too limited to involve all three options while Burrow is on some sort of a pitch count? We’ll be watching if the savvy slot receiver gets more opportunities in Week 2.
Matchup to watch: Marqui Christian
No one’s going to blame you if you don’t know who Christian is. Cooper Kupp completely exposed him on Sunday Night Football as the entire Bears’ secondary looked helpless to stop familiar foe Matthew Stafford. This is one of the more favorable matchups Boyd will have all season.
Cincinnati’s right guard was the only offensive lineman to give up a pressure on one of Burrow’s true drop backs against Minnesota. Unfortunately, the pressure was a big hit to Burrow right after No. 9 tossed his first touchdown of the year. That isolated incident aside, Su’a-Filo played fine in Week 1, but it’s hard to imagine his margin for error is large considering his backup, Jackson Carman, will be active on game days.
Matchup to watch: Akiem Hicks
Khalil Mack gets all the attention on the Bears’ defensive line, but forgetting about Hicks is a potentially costly mistake. Hicks is an all-around menace who affects the pass as much as the run when he’s playing his best. He mainly lines up over the right guard most of the time, so he’ll be well acquainted with Su’a-Filo in this one.
A handful of hurries and forced penalties netted Hendrickson a solid debut last week. There’s value in drawing holding calls if you can’t consistently create sacks. His quickness around the edge looks to be an asset for Lou Anarumo’s pressure packages, and in his second game in stripes, he’ll have a prime matchup awaiting him at left tackle.
Matchup to watch: Jason Peters
It’s been a remarkable career for Peters, who made two All-Pro teams in his previous 12 years with the Philadelphia Eagles, but the now 39-year old blindside blocker just isn’t the same player he used to be. On top of that, he’s dealing with a quadriceps injury that took him out of the Rams game. Hendrickson needs to take advantage.
It’s fair to say Hilton played to expectation in Week 1. He provided a spark near the line of scrimmage by making stops in the run game and had a couple solid moments in coverage. He also gave up some plays in the passing game that a starting slot defender needs to prohibit. Adam Thielen’s prowess in the slot proved to be a bit too much for him. That’s normal for most in Hilton’s position, but the slate isn’t going to get much easier.
Matchup to watch: Darnell Mooney
Mooney may not have Thielen’s silkiness as a route-runner, but he’s a burner that you cannot give a step to. Andy Dalton had reservations about throwing deep last week, but Mooney can give Hilton issues if Hilton doesn’t get his hands on him at the line.
The absence of Ricardo Allen will be interesting to monitor in Cincinnati’s backend. Do they rotate in the newly-elevated Davis to continue utilizing their three-safety sets, or do they just roll with Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell for the day? Davis has only been with the team for a week, so they may not ask him to do much outside of special teams.
Matchup to watch: David Montgomery
All 11 of Cincinnati’s defenders need to worry about Montgomery, who was one of the few Bears to actually play well last week. 82 of his 108 rushing yards came after contact, per Pro Football Focus.