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49ers vs. Bengals: Who wins Sunday, and why?

The Niners Nation staff predicts the score for Sunday

San Francisco 49ers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Last Friday, every member of the Niners Nation staff predicted the San Francisco 49ers would defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This time around, we have a different opinion. I was wondering how long into the season we’d go before somebody predicts a loss. Mark answered that question: Week 2. Here are our predictions for this Sunday.

28-24, good guys

It’s impossible to judge the Bengals defense from Week 1 because the Seahawks offensive line was more like blocking sleds. Russell Wilson was pressured on 46% of his dropbacks, per PFF. The Bengals defensive line has talent, but they shouldn’t look like All-Pros out there. Wilson only threw the ball 20 times, seven of which went to a running back. So in 13 attempts, the Bengals gave up four passing plays that went for more than 16 yards. I’m not sold on that secondary, and I think the defense gets a streak of multiple turnovers in a game started.

El Pato
27-17, 49ers

Andy Dalton had a career game against the Seahawks, in Seattle no less. The thing to remember is that you can’t base anything on Week 1 performances. With anybody. Yes, even the 49ers after they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Let me remind you, the Chip Kelly-led 49ers blew out the Los Angeles Rams in their opening game, and only one one more game the rest of the year. That said, the 49ers are a much better team this year and I think they find a way to win this one. It’s going to ride on the offense. The Bengals have an awful, awful defense and if Jimmy Garoppolo can get things together, this game is over at halftime.

Mark Saltveit (@taoish)
Bengals win 17-12

I think this is going to be a surprisingly low-scoring game, with two strong defensive lines, injuries on both sides (esp. to Joe Mixon), the Niners’ reinvigorated secondary (compared to Seattle’s depleted shell of one) and continued rust. Road games are tough, so 17-12 Bengals.

49ers lose 20-13 win 23-17

My gut tells me that the Bengals are going to win this one, but screw that. Last week I predicted a 49ers win, and they won, so I don’t want to jinx them by predicting a loss. The Bengals racked up a bunch of yards against the Seahawks, but they also turned the ball over three times. I think our defense’s whole thing of bend-but-then-get-a-turnover from last week will continue this week. On offense, I just can’t see Shanahan seeing multiple TDs called back due to penalties slide, so look for George Kittle to get those 2 TDs he was supposed to have last week.

Jeff Medina
49ers win 23-16

Vegas has the over/under at 45.5, and I’m taking the under. Neither team was able to establish the run game in their week one contests, and with both having impressive DLines I don’t expect that to change in week 2. Both teams will lean on short, and high percentage passes to avoid turnovers which will allow them to move the ball but ultimately stalled in the red zone. Look for both teams to exchange field goals for the better part of three quarters, with each managing one explosive play for a touchdown. In the end, the Garoppolo to Kittle connection will prove to be too much for the Bucs D, and the 49ers pull the game out with a late TD in the final five minutes.

Joe the Wizard
49ers 27-Bengals 26

The 49er’s defensive line will continue to step up, but the big difference is going to be Dante Pettis. I think he gets it together this week after being benched. I also expect to see a much better game out of Weston Richburg which should help open up a few more running lanes. George Kittle comes through with a touchdown in the final seconds to pull out the win. The 49ers by one in a real nail biter. Aren’t you glad George is on our side?

Alex Eisen
49ers 24-Bengals 21

This will be a tight game on the road. The Bengals played beyond what anyone expected in Seattle. However, the same can be said for the 49ers win on the road in Tampa Bay. I believe the 49ers’ defense will be the difference in this one, especially if Joe Mixon is not a hundred percent. I expect to see a bigger dose of Dante Pettis on offense, and George Kittle has a friendly matchup against this Bengals defense. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be pretty at times, but Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers will squeeze out a second consecutive road victory to open up the season and return home undefeated.

Niners win 28-20

Time of possession will be key to the Niners’ victory against the Cincinnati Bengals and their pass-heavy attack. The Bengals have weapons to score quickly but stopping them on early downs, particularly early in the drive will prove to be critical. Keeping the defensive front fresh is key to helping the secondary. The Bengals may attempt to put forth a slightly more balanced offensive attack, but in the end, you must play to your strengths. The Niners will have a better game in terms of penalties than last week, along with two TD’s from our tight ends, or receivers.

Josh E Niners win 27-14

What we saw last week from the 49ers front seven was everything we wanted and then some. Jameis Winston looked like he was under constant pressure and ended up throwing 3 INTs (2 that were returned for touchdowns). I fully expect Nick Bosa and Dee Ford to continue their strong start as a pass-rushing duo - that Bengals offensive line is not great and Andy Dalton is less-mobile than the aforementioned Winston. The fact that AJ Green is out also bodes well for the defense. This will be the contest that will silence naysayers for the time-being as I believe Jimmy Garoppolo will have himself a game and throw for at least 3 touchdowns against a porous Cincinnati defense that shouldn't give the 49ers offense too much trouble.

Rich M

28-17 49ers

The Bengals gave up 5 sacks and 21 total pressures to the Seahawks in their week 1 loss according to Pro Football Focus with tackles Bobby Hart and Andre Smith giving up 11 of those pressures. Left tackle Cordy Glenn remains out due to a concussion suffered in the preseason and the Bengals Friday injury report lists him as “OUT.” Conversely, the 49ers generated 19 total pressures and 3 sacks against a decent offensive line in Tampa Bay. Should be a long day for Dalton courtesy of Nick Bosa (if he plays) and Dee Ford. Also, the miscues on offense should be cleaned up and I fully expect Shanahan to rely on play action early and often to keep his quarterback clean and upright while also generating some easier reads and throws. Won’t be easy by any stretch, but the 49ers win less ugly this time, 28-17.