SUNDAY! SUNDAY!! SUNDAY!!!
The 2013 edition of your Cincinnati Bengals head to Soldier Field in Chicago for their first game of the 2013 regular season against Jay Cutler and the Bears!
This year's Bengals look a lot like last season's version, for good reason. Rather than attempting to make a big splash in free agency by chasing overpriced players, The Bengals sat back and systematically re-signed the big names on a team that made the playoffs the two previous seasons. The Franchise tag was applied to Michael Johnson, and Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins both have received extensions solidifying what is very possibly the most fierce Defensive Line in the league. The "Fisher Price Package" seems to be all grown up after just a few years.
Of course, the Bengals did add some key components on the offensive side of the ball via to 2013 draft, adding pass catching Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard, the latter of which is expected to contribute as a change-of-pace back immediately all the while working into the system as the potential future of the Bengals' backfield.
With that said, there has been very little talk in the offseason or preseason about the "Law Firm", Benjarvis Green Ellis. While teams may be keying on Bernard and the fits he can cause with his speed and elusiveness, the #1 back on the depth chart is still Benjarvis with his straight ahead, smash mouth running style. It'll be up to the tandem to keep the defenses honest and open of the field for the big play potential of the passing game featuring Dalton, Green, and a host of weapons to move the ball down the field.
In a season where the Bengals will see a host of opponents who were either playoff teams or playoff contenders, the Bears will still prove a tough test. Soldier field is never an easy place to play, and even with the absence of Brian Urlacher, the Bears still continue their tradition of playing stingy defense and solid special teams. They key to the game is going to be forcing mistakes by the major offensive weapons: Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, and everybody's favorite emo quarterback, Jay Cutler.
The oddsmakers have Chi-town as an early 3-point favorite due to homefield advantage. There jury is still out on a few minor Bengals injuries, including whether Andrew Whitworth will see action. Andre Smith and Carlos Dunlap are both expected to play. Andrew Hawkins has been placed on the PUP list meaning he is lost for the first 7 weeks of the season, and starting nickel linebacker and LB coverman extraordinaire Emmanuel Lamur has been lost for the season with a dislocated shoulder, which could force Rey Maualuga or a FA signing to fill that role on 3rd downs and heavy passing situations.
It's a new season, kids!!! So pumped to get back to football. Here's hoping we can build on last year's playoff season and go further into the postseason!
We've had a bunch of new additions to the group in the offseason, so I'm looking forward to seeing new faces this Sunday, as well as the old crew. Keep in mind that we are likely to have a big crew, which means getting there early so that we don't all overwhelm Lotara right when the game is starting. Might as well trickle in early to give yourself plenty of time to grab a brew and catch up with everybody you haven't seen. As always, be patient during that first beverage rush. Doors open at 9:30 but Lotara told me she's going to try to open early if at all possible!
Reunited and it feeeeeels so goooood!!! Let's beat the fucking Bears!!! And with that,