Joniak: Keys to Bears-Bengals

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(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Chicago Bears will face the Cincinnati Bengals during Sunday's home opener at Soldier Field. WBBM Newsradio's Jeff Joniak breaks it down.

OFFENSE

Expect a completely different look to the Bears' passing game from Andy Dalton against his old Bengals teammates. The cautious short game approach against the Los Angeles Rams moved the chains but did not result in explosive plays. Look for Head Coach Matt Nagy to get back to trying to stretch the field horizontally and vertically.

The tug of war begins in the run game. Cincinnati is big up front with one of the better run-stuffing nose tackles in the league in Clemson’s D.J. Reader, listed at 347 pounds, and his backup, Josh Tupou, 345-pounds. They made Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook work for every inch and held him to 61 yards. Running up the middle will be a challenge, but it doesn’t mean the Bears can’t do it.

David Montgomery picked up where he left off in the final six games, with a brilliant effort against the Rams. His foot quickness, vision, patience, and contact balance will come in handy against the Bengals, hopefully setting up the play-action game and some explosive pass plays.

Allen Robinson working out of the slot will have a size advantage on 5’9” Mike Hilton, the nickel cornerback for the Bengals, which could open up some good opportunities for 50-50 victories and yards after the catch for a guy who invested a lot of time on improving his speed on his cuts before and after the catch.

The expectation is that Jason Peters will start at left tackle after leaving the Rams game with a quad injury, but veteran Elijah Wilkin