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Bengals vs. Bears is the road game to make in 2021

Bengal Jim Foster tells us why he thinks Who Dey nation should make the trip to Chicago.

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NFL: Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals play the Chicago Bears in Week 2 and, according to super fan Bengal Jim Foster, that is the game for fans to make on the road this year.

“Chicago’s a great town,” he said. “I love Chicago.” He told us why exactly he’s most looking forward to visiting Soldier Field in a short video interview below.

Who is Bengal Jim Foster?

Foster runs the oldest tailgate in Cincinnati, Before the Roar. He recently started a YouTube channel, Bengal Jim’s Tailgate Experience, that features the best guests of any Bengals channel, like Cris Collinsworth, Ken Anderson, Anthony Muñoz , Willie Anderson, David Fulcher, and just about every other legend you can imagine. He also does great work in raising money for players’ charities.

Many fans probably know Foster from his Twitter account, which is basically an encyclopedia of Bengals information. He finds high-quality clips from all six decades of Bengals history and shares with his nearly 13,000 followers. He is also a great collector of Bengals memorabilia and was featured in The Enquirer recently for his extensive collection and decades of dedication.

Foster has been to 27 NFL stadiums in his life and hopes to go to every road game this year. He told us about his experiences across various stadiums and mentioned that the loudest stadium he had ever been to was actually the TWA Stadium in St. Louis. Here’s what he said:

“Me personally, the loudest stadium I’ve ever been, and I’ve been in a lot of loud stadiums—including Paul Brown Stadium when it’s going crazy—is the St. Louis TWA Dome when it had the Greatest Show on Turf. Bengals were playing. We were sitting at the top of the stadium in the dome, and we were getting sound reverberated, and I literally could not talk to the person next to me.”

While he is greatly looking forward to watching the Bengals play the Raiders in Las Vegas and the Broncos in Denver, he settled on the Bears game as his go-to for fans who can only pick one.

Why Chicago?

Distance

Bengals fans do travel well. In fact, Foster told me that he would put them in the top seven of all NFL fan bases in that regard. However, going to the West Coast is a bit unreasonable for many. The trip to Chicago, meanwhile, is only about a four and a half hour drive from Cincinnati. “We feel there’s probably going to be about 8,000 to 12,000 Bengals fans up there that weekend,” said Foster.

The food

“I would say Giordano’s Pizza is the best. I know there’s all kinds of deep dish pizza places around the area. Giordano’s is the best by far.” So what about snacks? “I can never leave there without bringing the wife and kids home Garrett’s Popcorn.

History of the two teams

The Bengals last played at Soldier Field in a 24-21 loss on the 2013 season opener. The offense struggled overall. Dalton threw two first half interceptions, and Mohamed Sanu had a fourth quarter fumble that set up the game-winning touchdown. There were also mental errors, like Rey Maualuga committing a personal foul that allowed the Bears to run out the clock with a little over a minute remaining. On the positive side, A.J. Green lit up Charles Tillman and the Chicago secondary for 162 yards and two touchdowns on only nine receptions.

Highlights and analysis from that game below:

Foster had this to say about Bengals-Bears history:

“The Bengals lead that series 6-5. The Bengals lead the series in Chicago 4-2. Two out of those 11 games were overtime. The Bengals won both those games. And one of those games they won in overtime was 1992, with 59 seconds left, Boomer Esiason throws a pass to the left corner of the end zone to Carl Pickens. Fifty-fifty grab against two defenders. Pickens comes down with it. We tie the game up. And Jim Breech kicks a field goal in overtime to win the game.”

You can relive that game by watching the video below:

Now the Bengals could face former quarterback Andy Dalton, who played nine seasons in Cincinnati during which he made three Pro Bowls.

Of course, Dalton might end up being the backup to former Ohio State standout Justin Fields. Early indications are that the Bears want to start Dalton and let Field sit back and develop, so it’s more likely than not the Bengals face Dalton in Week 2, making this easily one of the most intriguing games of their 2021 campaign.

While the Bears are tough to beat in Chicago, they’re currently projected to finish in the bottom half of the NFL this season, so this should be one of the more winnable road games on the schedule for Cincinnati. If the Bengals can beat the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 and steal this one the following week, a 2-0 start could be the kick-start this franchise desperately needs after winning just six games over the last two seasons.

For what it’s worth, Team Rankings is currently projecting the Bears to win this game 24-21.

Regardless of which quarterback starts, Bengals fans will have great interest in seeing him play.

What makes this game special

“It’s a team we don’t pay a whole lot, 11 times in 54, 55 years,” Foster said. The Chicago game will also be the Bengals’ first road game of the year, so it may help set the tone for the team in terms of tenacity and being able to block out distractions for the entire year.

For more about the Bengals’ upcoming season, check out our recent interview with Marisa Contipelli:

Cincy Jungle has the best Cincinnati Bengals links, news and analysis, and some other stuff. Find us on Twitter at @CincyJungle and on Facebook at Facebook.com/CincyJungle. If you want to check out our podcasts, including all Orange and Black Insider content, it is available here on CJ, the Stitcher, Spotify, iHeart Radio and Google Play Music apps, our YouTube channel, as well as through Megaphone and, as always, on iTunes!