Despite a disappointing loss to the Falcons last Sunday night, at least one Bear had a rewarding week.
Jay Cutler agreed to a 2 year contract extension to remain in Chicago through the 2013 season. With his future secured, Mr. Cutler should be able to concentrate on hitting his receivers with better accuracy than he did in Atlanta a week ago.
At 3-2, the Bears close out a two game road trip in Cincinnati, on short rest, dare I say desperate to grab a W and avoid falling to .500 on the season. Both Chicago and Cincinnati (4-2), will have key voids on defense as Tommie Harris will sit this one out, along with Bengals LB Pisa Tinoisamoa, who will miss the remainder of the season with serious cartilage damage. Recently acquired Gaines Adams will make his Bears debut, and should help compensate for the loss of Harris on Sunday.
The surprisingly competent Bengals, who have a share of the lead in the AFC North with the Steelers, look to bounce back from a lackluster performance against the Texans last week. Matt Schaub, who leads the NFL with 14 TD passes, connected on four aerial scores in Week 6. After watching tape of the Bengals secondary struggle to keep Houston’s wideouts out of the endzone all afternoon, Jay Cutler should be licking his chops. With the ink not yet dry on a new extension, Jay Cutler couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to prove to Bears management that they made a wise investment. Cincinnati’s defense reeks from a ranking of 28th against the pass in the NFL this season. Jay should be able to light it up this Sunday.
Perhaps as important to the long-term success of the Bears offense this season, is the ability of Matt Forte to regain the confidence that was no doubt shattered following back-to-back critical fumbles on National television last Sunday night.
If the Bears are going to stay close with the Vikings, who face a very difficult road game against the World Champion Steelers this weekend, Chicago will need to do a better job taking care of the football on offense. Against a less-than-stellar rushing defense in the Falcons, the Bears failed to have any success on the ground. Cincinnati’s run stopping ability is better than that of the Falcons, so it will take a much stronger effort from the Bears offensive line, if Chicago hopes to avoid back-to-back road losses.
Heading into Week 7, the Bears are looking at a golden opportunity to head home 4-2, with Cleveland and Arizona in Weeks 8 and 9. Before visiting Detroit in Week 9, the Vikings have two tough road opponents in the Steelers and Green Bay respectively. I doubt Lovie will allow his troops to look that far ahead, but if the Bears can take care of business against a likely deceptive 4-2 Bengals team, the second half of the season could be thrilling.
On the heels of an embarrassing series of blown opportunities in front of America last week in Atlanta, a motivated offense led by a deeper pocketed Jay Cutler will get the job done this time.
Bears 28 Bengals 17
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Written by Adam Becker