The Bears' week three match up against the St. Louis Rams is fast approaching and Chicago will be looking to return to the type of form that saw them beat the Indianapolis Colts in week one. If they perform the way they did against Green Bay, then they can expect nothing less than another loss. So let's take a look at five things that must happen this Sunday if the Bears want to finish the day with a 2-1 record.
1. Jay Cutler has to have a good game.
It might sound like stating the obvious, but this is a necessity. There are some teams whose quarterback can play badly, but they can still pull out the victory. As it stands at the moment, I don't think Chicago are one of those teams.
Everything else needs to fall of Cutler. He needs to be the glue that holds things together. This takes on greater importance this week, with it looking increasingly unlikely that running back Matt Forte will play.
Cutler needs to find the type of form that saw him throw for 333 yards and two touchdowns against the Colts in week one. Of course, a lot of this will depend on his pass protection. Which brings us nicely to:
2. The Bears offensive line needs to step it up.
It just seems to be the one thing that keeps getting discussed, but not without good reason. The Bears don't have one of the league's better offensive lines, but we saw against the Colts that they can get it done.
Chilo Rachal will be taking over from Chris Spencer at left guard, so we shall see what difference that makes. However, it looks like J'Marcus Webb, the man who people love to hate, will still be holding down his position at left tackle. Recently, offensive coordinator, Mike Tice came out in support of Webb and said:
"We also know from history -- and we can specifically talk about J'Marcus -- that in the five games he's played against Green Bay, he's fared pretty well. And he also came off with a pretty decent performance the week before where I heard people talking and texting me about 'does he get the game ball?' So he couldn't have been that bad the week before. It's a long season. This is a young player that didn't want to go out there and play at that level, so we'll see how he bounces back and we'll see how we all bounce back."
The Bears offensive line cannot afford another performance like the one against Green Bay. If that happens, you can forget about them picking up the win.
3. Brandon Marshall has to get in the game.
I am not saying it was his fault that he was only targeted five times and caught just two of those, but by hook or by crook, the Bears need to get the ball in Marshall's hands. Let's just hope he holds on to it this time.
I loved what I saw in the game against the Colts. The Cutler to Marshall show that the Bears were finally afforded the joy of beholding was great. It gave us all such hope that things were going to be okay. The band was back together. But then the game against Green Bay seemed to quickly wipe that memory away.
I will say it right now. If Marshall has a big game, and by big I am talking between 8 and 12 receptions, then I think the Bears win easily.
4. The Bears need to limit the production of Danny Amendola.
Rams wide receiver is coming off a huge game against Washington where he caught 15 passes for 160 yards. He is clearly quarterback Sam Bradford's go to guy, and the Bears need to be very wary of him. In his week one game against the Lions he also caught five balls for 70 yards which isn't too bad either.
He runs good routes and can make adjustments to the ball, and while he might not be the quickest receiver in the NFL, he manages to get good separation from defenders.
I am sure Lovie Smith and the Bears will have a game plan in place to deal with Amendola, and they will need to. The last thing the Bears want is for Amendola to play like he did against Washington. He must be stopped!!
5. Just win, baby!
OK, so it's far too early to call this a must win game for the Bears, but let's do just that. For a minute at least. This is a winnable game. I think most would call it an upset if the Rams were to win on Sunday.
Chicago need to forget about the game against the Packers. Put that out of their minds and concentrate on the task at hand. The game plan needs to be good. The play calling needs to be better, and the overall team performance must be better.
Following this week's game, the Bears will travel to Dallas in a match up that could cause them a few problems. So it is of utmost importance that Chicago come away with the win this Sunday. If anything other than that happens, and I think it's okay to start manning the panic stations.