Polling Place: How confident are you that the Bears will beat the Bengals? Um, not so muchSteve Greenbergon September 17, 2021 at 4:55 pm

An 0-2 start would be the Bears’ death knell. No, we can’t say that absolutely beyond the shadow of a doubt. But some things you guess at, some things you think and other things you just know down deep in your tormented soul: If the Bears fall to 0-2, it’s a “sorry, we’re all out of giardiniera”-level disaster.

In this week’s “Polling Place” — your home for Sun-Times sports polls on Twitter — we asked how confident you are that the Bears will win their home opener Sunday against the Bengals.

“Andy Dalton knows all the Cincy plays!” @Kipkruse880 enthused.

Yeah, well, Dalton knows all the Bears’ plays, too, and everyone saw how that worked out against the Rams in Week 1. Not that Dalton was half as bad as the Bears’ defense. It’s no wonder the voting was overwhelmingly guarded or negative.

“I can’t believe y’all are worried about the Bengals, LOL,” @Bears_Fan_Pete wrote. “One loss to the Rams and everyone’s running for the hills.”

Maybe 1-1 would slow that down. On to the polls:

Poll No. 1: How confident are you that the Bears will win their home opener Sunday against the Bengals?

Upshot: The Bengals were 4-11-1 last season. The Bengals haven’t had a winning season since 2015. The Bengals are — perhaps you’ve heard of them — the Bengals. But we clearly mustn’t dismiss them, if we are to believe our distinguished voters. They have a terrific young quarterback in Joe Burrow. They’re 1-0 after beating the Vikings. Sure, they have a shot to walk out of Soldier Field with a “W.” Who doesn’t? (No Fire jokes, please.)

Poll No. 2: Which of these things would you most like to see from the offense?

Upshot: This just proves that everyone is obsessed with the Bears’ rookie quarterback. Not that it’s a bad thing. His ascension into the starting role is inevitable. Still, don’t we want to see Montgomery, who just gets better and better, go well over 1,000 yards this season? Don’t we want to see receivers running routes well beyond — what a concept — the first-down marker? Offered @KurtisArndt, “The correct answer is ‘all of the above.’ ” Fair enough.

Poll No. 3: Which of these things would you most like to see from the defense?

Upshot: An astute point made by @PrebenReal: “Pass rush is supposed to be their strength, and that’s where all the money is, so really that’s the bear (heh) minimum if they want to be not embarrassing?” By the way, wouldn’t that make a tremendous team motto? We’re not embarrassing! We’re not embarrassing! Maybe Khalil Mack can taunt Burrow with those words after dumping him for a (what’s it called again?) sack.

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