The long awaited debut of new head coach Marc Trestman is something that Bears fans have been looking forward to since he was signed.
There are a bevy of questions facing this Bears team and their new coach and hopefully some of these questions will be answered Sunday come high noon when the Bears take on the Cincinnati Bengals at Soldier Field. Here is what to watch for in the season opener
WHEN THE BEARS HAVE THE BALL
One of the many questions facing this Bears team is how will the offensive line hold up this season. Well they will have no easy task protecting Cutler against this stout Bengals offensive line lead by Pro Bowler Geno Atkins.
With the additions of Jermon Bushrod and Matt Slauson to bolster the left side of the offensive line this task should become more manageable. However, on the right side of the offensive line things could get dicey with two rookies starting in Kyle Long and Jordan Mills, and center Roberto Garza is not what he used to be. The Bears will have to hold their blocks long enough to allow Cutler the time he needs to get off clean passes. Something Jay needs to do better this season is not hold on to the ball to long.
Especially in this game were the offensive line is still gelling together and the Bengals defensive line is a potent as they are. If things get dangerous in the pocket Jay needs to escape the pressure and get out side the pocket and make something happen. Another Question facing the Bears is how balanced the offense will be under Trestman.
Trestman talked in the off season about making Matt Forte more of a feature back and running their offense through him. If this plan holds true this could allow Forte to be the main component of the offense and take more of the pressure off Brandon Marshall who was undoubtedly the Bears main offensive threat last year.
Another thing that should take some pressure off of Marshall’s shoulders is the addition of Martellus Bennett ,and if Alshon Jeffery can stay healthy that would also provide a big boost for the offense. It all boils down to Cutler not relying on Marshall so much and spreading the ball around to his other more than capable receivers,and not making bad decisions especially against this wily veteran secondary of the Bengals. We will see if these questions are answered come Sunday.
WHEN THE BENGALS HAVE THE BALL
The Bengals offense is one of the youngest in the league, but they are one of the most dangerous as well. The Bears defense will face a tall task in stopping this offense.
The Bears D-Line lead by Julius Peppers and Henry Melton will have to live up to there potential and get to quarterback Andy Dalton. If the Bears can do his early and assert there presence it could allow the Linebackers and secondary to be more opportunistic and force turnovers like we all know the Bears can.
Melton and the rest of the defensive line will also have to be solid to stop the talented back field tandem of Rookie Giovani Bernard and The law Firm Benjarvus Green-Ellis. The linebackers lead by Lance Briggs will have to pull there own weight without Brian Urlacher this year and help the D-Line in the run and bale them out on the plays when they don’t pressure Dalton. The Secondary lead by Peanut Tillman could play a huge roll ion this game especially if the Bears D-Line doesn’t get to Dalton.
Either they take advantage of Dalton’s Mistakes or they could be challenged immensely by AJ Green the Bengals talented Pro Bowl Wideout. The main factor when the Bengals have the ball is can the Bears D-Line make their presence felt.
X FACTOR: BEARS SPECIAL TEAMS
The Bears are known for having one of the top special teams units in the NFL,and if they play like it it could prove to be the deicing factor in this game. This unit has the ability to flip the field position and everyone knows what Devin Hester can do when he is on the field.
PREDICTION: BEARS 20, BENGALS 13
This will be a hard fought battle, but the Bears D will step up when it matters most and stymy the Bengals offense. Chicago will get the Marc Trestman era under way on a good note and look to build from there.