San Francisco 49ers training camp is just around the corner! It’s time for us to look at each opponent and provide a reason for and against the 49ers beating them. We’ve included a poll for the community to vote on whether they expect a win or a loss and will see what kind of prediction this provides at the end.
The 49ers follow up their opener with another away game against the Cincinnati Bengals. You can read our opponent preview to see what the Bengals have been up to. On paper, it’s hard to see a situation where the 49ers lose this game. If the team has improved like we all hope it has, games like this should be won handily. This is the team that had one of, if not the worst defenses in 2018. The worst defense against Kyle Shanahan? Oh man.
Reason for: Bengals secondary
There are a ton of great stats to bring up here. The Bengals atrocious run game where one guy (Joe Mixon) got 1,168 of the team’s 1,682 total yards and the back-half-ranked pass blocking (24th on PFF) come to mind first. I’m going with the pass defense. In 2018 it was ranked dead last, allowing 4414 receiving yards to opponents.
And what did the Bengals do in the offseason to counter this? Drafted a cornerback in the seventh round and signed B.W. Webb. That’s not going to fix everything with a defense that bad.
Paging Jimmy Garoppolo.
The 49ers have to be loving their chances with the pass game on this one. While they can run the ball to oblivion as well against the 29th-ranked rushing defense, the air can be the most fun. If the Bengals decide to clamp down on the 49ers run game, there’s no stopping Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel, and others from ripping them apart.
Reason against: Bengals offensive line
Trying to find a reason that the Bengals win this game outside of subjects like “The 49ers blowing leads again” and “Season trainwreck by Week 2” is an exercise in frustration, but I’m going to pin this on the offensive line. The line allowed 37 sacks and 71 hits. Not anything incredible, but satisfactory. They lost their rookie draft pick offensive tackle Jonah Williams to a torn labrum, which carries problems of its own, but doesn’t shatter the entire line.
So why the line? Well, remember that thing I said about the line needing time to gel and get consistent? It’s Week 2, I think this is one of those games where the consistency shows itself. The Bengals haven’t done much in the run game and won’t do much by Week 2 against the likes of Arik Armstead and other good run defenders, so they’ll turn to the air. If they can hold the 49ers off pass rushers off, the secondary could have a rough day with passes getting completed.
This is dependent on Andy Dalton actually completing passes and their wide receivers getting open, something easier said than done.
And really, I’m grasping at straws here. I don’t see how the Bengals win this game. If the 49ers have improved like what all indications have shown, this is a team they should beat.
But I’ve been wrong before.
What will happen in Week 2 at the Cincinnati Bengals?
This poll is closed