By Nick Wilder
It might be an unpopular opinion among Bears fans, but the SportsTalk Live panel believes the Bengals have the edge over the Bears going into the season-opener at Soldier Field.
Sunday's matchup will be the first regular season game for Marc Trestman as a head coach in the NFL. After being the head coach for the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes from 2008-12, there are many observers interested in seeing what Trestman's team will look like against Cincinnati. The panel shared their thoughts on whether the new coaching staff for the Bears will give them the element of surprise over the unfamiliar Bengals.
“It’s a big advantage to the Bengals because Mike Zimmer is one of the best defensive coordinators in football,” said Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly. “Also, Marvin Lewis is the second longest tenured head coach in football, and offensively they have new weapons. The element of surprise is a nice thing, but it doesn’t make up for all of the Bengals’ experience and recent success.”
“The Bears have no idea what to expect either,” said Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times. “They have just as much of a surprise factor about themselves as the Bengals do.”
Yahoo! Sports Radio's Peter Brown presented the idea that expectations are much higher for the Bengals this year.
“The difficulty about this game is that the Bengals have a goal, they come into this season having lost two playoff games in a row,” Brown said. “They know they are the hot pick to be in the Super Bowl this year so they have to come out in the first game and show who they are.”
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When strictly comparing the team's rosters, it would appear that the Bears and Bengals have the same type of skill players with similar abilities.
“Jay Cutler over Andy Dalton? Maybe. Brandon Marshall is every bit as good as A.J. Green. Matt Forte is every bit as good as Giovani Bernard, if not better,” Lazerus said. “There are comparable skill players, so this game will come down to the trenches but the Bears have not shown that they have those people.”
The panel seemed to be in consensus about a Bengals win over the Bears. Do you agree with its assessment? Watch the full discussion in the video above.