Where: Paul Brown Stadium
When: Thursday, Aug. 9, 6:00 p.m. CT
Line: Cincinnati -2
The Chicago Bears first “official” 2018 preseason game will come against the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night. This game should be much more entertaining considering the starters should see some playing time.
Last week was pretty vanilla overall, which should be expected out of a preseason game. Hell, last year not many people knew the Bears would use running back Tarik Cohen like they did week one vs. Atlanta.
Expect the same from rookie head coach Matt Nagy for the rest of the preseason, including on Thursday. Still, the hope is we can see some positive. Whether it’s vanilla or not. Here are some things to keep an eye on.
1st Down: Trubisky and Miller will play
Quarterback Mitch Trubisky did not play against the Ravens in the Hall of Fame game, but that will change on Thursday. The second-year QB out of North Carolina will start on Thursday. How much Trubisky plays will be determined by Nagy.
Rookie wideout Anthony Miller will also see some playing time. That tells us most, if not all of the starters should see the field for, at least, a series.
Miller has been the talk of camp so far for the Bears. He looks like an early steal out of April’s draft. He could be the Bears No. 2 WR behind only Allen Robinson. Fans like myself are excited to see the rookie in live game action.
Kevin White should also see some playing time on Thursday, which is always interesting.
2nd Down: James Daniels at center?
As I stated above, the starters will play in some of the game. Something interesting took place at Bears camp this week. That was rookie James Daniels moving back to center. Not too long ago Ryan Pace said Daniels would be playing guard, at least to start. Now, it appears Daniels has been moved back to center.
Why? Well, Daniels best position was always center. The Bears thought he had the tools and versatility to play guard. They were also still persistent on Cody Whitehair playing center. Clearly, things have changed.
Whitehair had issues last year snapping the football. It makes you wonder if that’s going on in camp this year. The emergence of Erik Kush could be another reason that the Bears could be another reason Daniels has been moved center.
Now, to make things clear Daniels won’t be at center week one in Green Bay, but his time at the position is coming sooner rather than later. He should get his first action in the NFL on Thursday night.
3rd Down: Players Not Traveling
There will be four players not traveling with the team to Cincinnati. Those players are WR Joshua Bellamy, DB Rashard Fant, OLB Isaiah Irving and TE Dion Sims. The biggest surprise here is Irving, who had a solid performance against the Ravens last week.
It’s disappointing he won’t be able to suit up Thursday. With Aaron Lynch still hurt, the edge rusher position is growing thinner by the day.
Bellamy missing the game will allow Javon Wims, Tanner Gentry, and Bennie Fowler to see more time on the field. Bellamy is expected to make the team because of his value on special teams. It will be interesting to see what happens on the back end of the wide receiver depth chart against the Bengals.
4th Down: Final Thoughts/Prediction
This will be the Bears’ second preseason game. The good news is we will get to see some starters in action. I expect to see two-to-three series out of Trubisky and the first team offense. Some of the starters on defense could play a bit longer, but don’t expect much.
The goal should be for the offense to get in some kind of rhythm. Whether it be picking up a few first downs or a couple early scoring drives. The Bengals roster isn’t anything special, so I’ll take the Bears +2.
Disclaimer: Yes, I am really betting on preseason football. No, I don’t have a problem.
Bears 23 Bengals 21
Follow Nick on Twitter: @TLS_Petrusevski–Feature Photo Credit: NBC Sports