The Chicago Bears have a new offense to debut on Sunday when they play the Cincinnati Bengals. The problem is that the Bengals have one of the top defenses in the NFL.
With that reputation in mind, it seems reasonable to suggest that the Bears offense will struggle on Sunday.
Here are five players that make the Bengals’ defense so strong.
- DT Geno Atkins-Atkins had a breakout season with the Bengals in 2012. Atkins recorded 12.5 sacks for the Bengals in 2012 and established himself as one of the top defensive ends in the league. Atkins will be a formidable test for the right side of the Bears’ offensive line in Kyle Long and Jordan Mills.
- LB James Harrison-The poster boy for illegal hits in the NFL, Harrison, has changed teams. Harrison signed with the Bengals in the off-season and will only bolster what already is a stout defense. Like Atkins, the Bears’ offensive line will be tasked from keeping Harrison away from quarterback Jay Cutler.
- LB Vontaze Burfict-Burfict was a gem for the Bengals last season after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent. Burfict recorded 127 tackles for the Bengals last season and is quickly establishing himself as a defensive leader. Expect the Bears’ to attack Burfict with new tight end Martellus Bennett.
- DT Domata Peko-With the Bears expected to focus on Atkins, that may create an opportunity for his line-mate Domata Peko. Peko recorded 2 sacks for the Bengals last season but could have a favorable matchup on Sunday.
- DE Michael Johnson-Johnson recorded 11.5 sacks for the Bengals and will be up against Bears’ left tackle Jermon Bushrod. This will certainly be a matchup to watch on Sunday.