We offer our six keys for the Bears to triumph over the Titans on Sunday.
1) Chris Johnson.
Chris Johnson's built himself back up over the last couple weeks, by facing a pair of really less-than-spectacular run defenses. If he's built up any confidence from those two defenses, the Bears' have to put the clamps on him early and often. Johnson's good two weeks have come against Buffalo and Indianapolis, and the Bears' run defense isn't that of those teams.
2) Execution? I'm all for it!
Part of the Bears' struggles against Carolina - okay, a lot of the struggles - came from the team's inability to execute simple things like, oh, catching footballs and making tackles. While you could probably make an endless loop video of Brian Urlacher getting juked out of his shoes by Mike Tolbert, it would probably make you sicker than the Tom Brady play. Simply put, clean it up. You too, Brandon Marshall and Devin Hester.
3) Bring Hasselbeck Down
Matt Hasselbeck isn't the pro quarterback he once was, but he's not exactly chop livah. That being said, not only is he missing some of the velocity from his deeper and shorter throws, he's also lost what little mobility he had remaining. Hasselbeck's been brought down twelve times to Locker's three, in the same amount of starts (Hasselbeck's seen time in two other games). The Titans' offensive line isn't the worst in league history, but it's not a great unit either, and when the defensive line breaks through, Hasselbeck can't move as well as Locker can.
4) Kendall Wright and Nate Washington in the Red Zone
Kendall Wright leads the Titans with 40 receptions, which would be more devastating if he weren't averaging only 8.8 yards per receptions. But he's converted three of those for touchdowns, so he's still pretty dangerous, especially as the team moves into the red zone. Nate Washington has three himself, and with Hasselbeck's reduced throwing efficiency, clamping down on shorter throws, especially in the red zone, will go a long way.
5) Matt Forte in the Screen Game
Can we finally get some consistent running and screens out of the guy best suited to run the screen against a defense that is particularly vulnerable against them? If there was ever a game to get Forte involved big time, this would be it you would think - although I think I said something similar last week when Forte faced a team he's scorched the last two years, and, well, we know how that ended.
6) Protect Jay Cutler from Kamerion Wimbley and Derrick Morgan
And just like last week, the Bears are facing a defense whose two primary pass rushers are on the ends, and like last week, those two enter the game with a fairly small amount of sacks, 2.5 sacks each. Hopefully, unlike last week, those two ends don't just go off on J'Marcus Webb and Gabe Carimi. The offense looks a lot better when it doesn't have large scary men chasing down Jay Cutler.