Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#277 49ers 45 vs.
#278 Cincinnati Bengals -1
Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 1:00pm EDT
Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati
Written by Sporty Jordy

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#277 San Francisco
#278 Cincinnati
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When and where: September 15, 2019, Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH, 1:00 PM ET

The San Francisco 49ers embark on a road trip out east in Week 2 for a Sunday showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals. After nearly upsetting the Seattle Seahawks in the season opener, the Bengals have to be feeling good about quarterback Andy Dalton, who threw for 418 yards and two touchdowns without A.J. Green on the field.

Meanwhile, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo put forth another disappointing effort—18-of-27 passing for 166 yards, one touchdown and one interception—in a game his team still managed to win. Both quarterbacks are on the hot seat in 2019, and a loss would serve as another major setback for either player. Who will rise to the occasion in the head-to-head meeting?

Are the 49ers in trouble?

The offensive struggles with Garoppolo at the helm continued into the season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Don’t let the 31-17 final score fool you into thinking the offense was firing on all cylinders. Quite the contrary, the defense led the way for the 49ers, picking off Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston twice and returning two of those interceptions to the house.

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Meanwhile, it was the same frustrating Garoppolo on offense, finishing with 166 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception. Considering how well the Bengals looked in Week 1, there could be more pressure on Garoppolo to get the offense moving on Sunday. The 49ers didn’t bring him into the organization and make him the highest-paid quarterback in football to not show up during the regular season. We have reached a crossroads where we’re about to find out if the hype is real or not for Jimmy G.

The 49ers could use receiver Dante Pettis, who played in just two snaps last week. The former second-round pick from Washington was expected to break out this season.

“He’s had a full week of practice, and he’s had a real good week of practice,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “Dante had a little bit of a setback with his injury. He got some practice in last week, but we knew he was going to be limited in the game.

“We definitely planned on playing him more than two plays, so that was something I was disappointed with after the game, that we as a coaching staff didn’t get him in more. That’s kind of how the game played out, but that definitely wasn’t the plan going in.

“You’ll see him a lot more this week. He had a full, healthy week — to me, one of his best weeks, and we need him. Dante’s one of our better players. I know he’s had some ups and downs throughout this offseason, but we believe in Dante, and even though he’s had some setbacks, we’re counting on him to come around.

The 49ers will have their hands full on defense matching up with the young duo at receiver with John Ross and Tyler Boyd. If the defensive front can get after Dalton early, there’s a good chance he’ll regress back into the unsure pocket passer that starts making mistakes whenever he sees ghosts.

Can Dalton get back on track?

Dalton has to be one of the most frustrating quarterbacks in the NFL. There are times when he displays a burgeoning elite talent, and then those games are typically followed by a harsh reminder of why the Bengals desperately need to be looking towards the future for a replacement. Week 1 was one of those magical Dalton games, even though the team ultimately came up short in a loss to the Seahawks.

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I’m still not a fan of him dropping back and attempting 51 passes on a consistent basis. That’s one thing the Bengals have to immediately rein in for the Week 2 match-up against the 49ers. That’s obviously going to be hard to do with starting running back Joe Mixon dealing with an ankle sprain. So the Bengals must figure out a way to get Giovani Bernard more involved in the offense on Sunday.

The last thing the team needs is tipping its hat of a pass-heavy offense to a defensive secondary with future Hall of Fame cornerback Richard Sherman lurking around.

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Dalton looked like he stepped out of a time machine against the Seahawks, but more importantly, the defense did a great job against Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. They came away from the game with four sacks in the loss, which is a positive sign with them heading in against a turnover-prone quarterback like Garoppolo.

If the Bengals’ defensive front can get Garoppolo tap-dancing, that’s typically when good things happen for opposing defenses. Garoppolo has an 18-to-9 career touchdown-to-interception ratio. So it will fall on the defense to put the heat on him early and force him into making mistakes.

On the other side of the ball, Dalton can’t afford to make the same errors. The Bengals can limit the turnovers and force Garoppolo to continuously go the full length of the field. That’s the ironclad blueprint to victory, and it’s the one the Bengals will use on Sunday. Give me the Bengals and the points in Week 2.

Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals (-2)

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The Bengals already showed against the Seahawks they aren’t afraid to put the game in Dalton’s hands and air the football out. I have a feeling there will be more of that against the 49ers, especially with Mixon dealing with an ankle injury. Another big afternoon for Dalton coupled with a better one for Garoppolo has me taking the over betting total here.

Prediction: Over (45)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.