The Chicago Bears travel to Ohio to take on the Cincinnati Bengals in a game that doesn’t scream anything other than playing for paychecks and personal stats. With the Bengals loss to the Steelers on MNF, they pretty much knocked themselves out of any hope for a Wild Card sport in the AFC. The Bears realized back in September that they weren’t going to be a playoff team and have played accordingly. Both teams will look toward the future in this Week 14 matchup. Kickoff inside Paul Brown Stadium is at 1 PM ET.
Since 2001, these two teams have played 4 times and they’ve each won two games apiece. Their last encounter was in 2013 and the Bears won at home 24-21. The last time they played in Cincinnati was 2009 and the Bengals won 45-10.
The Bears (3-9) are 1-4 on the road and have lost 5 straight games. They’re coming off a 15-14 loss at home to the 49ers where their former kicker beat them. The offense had a miserable performance and will need a rebound game this week vs the Bengals.
The Bengals (5-7) are 2 games back in the Wild Card race and have little hope of making up that ground with only 4 games left. There are too many teams ahead of them that have the tie breakers. Additionally, the Bengals have a tough stretch against the Vikings, Lions and Ravens to close out the season. They come into this matchup having loss 3 of 5 games and looking very anemic on offense.
The spread opened with the Bengals favored by 6.5 points. Since then, the spread has fluctuated between 6 points and 7 points. Since we’re going with the Bears in this one, take the 7 points where you can find them. The Over/Under opened at 37 points and it remains unchanged.
These two teams are virtually identical in stats and disappointment. The Bears offense averages 15.9ppg and 293ypg while the Bengals average 18.3ppg and 297.3ypg. Defensively, the Bears allow 350.3ypg and 22.3ppg while the Bengals allow 19.8ppg and 352.4ypg. In other words, both the Bears and the Bengals are bad football teams.
It starts on offense where neither team is excelling. The Bengals have one of the worst rushing attacks at just 80ypg and the Bears have one of the worst passing attacks at just 177ypg. Neither team can score much more than 2 touchdowns per game nor can they hold onto leads. Perfect example of this scenario is the Bengals dropping their lead and the game to the Steelers on MNF. A game that could’ve kept them in Wild Card contention was lost in the 4th quarter. The Bengals also lost their top RB Mixon to a concussion and there’s a strong chance that he doesn’t play this week.
Despite losing 5 straight, the Bears only loss one of those games by more than one score. Other than Cleveland, the Bengals haven’t beaten anyone by more than 4 points. Well, the Bears are better than the Browns and I believe they will keep the game within a TD to cover the spread. Let’s not forget that the Bears 3 wins came against Playoff contenders: Steelers, Ravens and Panthers. While the Bengals wins came against teams that don’t have a winning record: Browns (twice), Bills, Colts, Broncos.
Without any real running game, Dalton is having a down year. You can point to his 20 TDs to 8 INTs as a good ratio, but he hasn’t won any games for the Bengals this year. Same can be said for the Bears QB situation. The only good thing is that they’re building for the future by giving Trubisky all of this playing time. However, they don’t have any receivers to throw the ball too as Kendall Wright is their top receiver and he only has 370 receiving yards through 12 games.
Bottom line, these two dysfunctional teams will battle it out on Sunday for pride and paychecks. Bengals fans can hold on to the “mathematically alive” argument, but the team is a hot mess.
The Bears are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games against AFC opponents. The Bengals are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 Week 14 games.
With the Bengals on a short week, most likely without Mixon, and too far back in the Wild Card race, I just don’t see them playing with the intensity that will propel them to beating the Bears by more than a TD. For Chicago, they’ve been in this boat for 2 months now and they continue to play to their potential each week.
I believe that the Bears running game will control the flow of this contest and ultimately, keep the Bears to within 7 points. Howard has 885 yards on the season and can take over a game by himself. The Bengals allow 123.8 rushing ypg and I see them giving up close to 150 this week. If Dalton struggles at all, or turns the ball over, then the Bears could actually win this game outright. As of now, I’m going with the combo of Dalton and AJ Green (886 yards and 8 TDs) to get the Bengals the victory. Cincy wins 24-20.