By Marshall Harris

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Bears host the Cincinnati Bengals in Sunday’s home opener. It’s time for another edition of Three Things to Watch.

Bears Defense Improvements?

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One thing Bears fans are hoping they can watch (and stomach) more easily this week: the defense in general and the secondary in particular.

After we saw Rams Quarterback Matt Stafford’s handiwork in Week One, a healthy Bengals QB Joe Burrow could end up being quite the challenge for Eddie Jackson and company. Burrow threw for 262 yards and a couple of scores in an overtime win over the Vikings. Bears safety Tashaun Gipson said a high school receiver could have gotten open against the Bears last week. Let’s see if he and the Bears defense can do a better job against these pros.

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Play Calling Patterns

Last week we saw Matt Nagy get outcoached by Rams’ Sean McVay. The play calling was more than a little conservative. Andy Dalton only threw two passes more than ten yards down the field. They were both incomplete. Will Nagy dial up more downfield action for Dalton and/or Justin Fields? Or continue to be short-sighted? Receiver Marquis Goodwin called last week “challenging.” We’ll see if the Bears are up to this challenge.

Soldier Field Noise

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And our final thing to watch is just as much a thing to listen for. Andy Dalton talked this week about the Bears fans and how excited he is to play in front of the home crowd. Well, if you remember during preseason, the fans turned on Dalton and actually booed him and then chanted “we want Fields.” So the question is, if Dalton struggles, could the same thing happen in the home opener? And could that cost the Bears some of their homefield advantage against Cincinnati? Another reason to keep both your ears and eyes open.

Marshall Harris