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Game 8 Preview: Chicago Bears @ Buf...Toronto Bills

The Chicago Bears make their first trip to Toronto since an August 15th, 1960 preseason game vs the GiantsIsrael Idonije gets to go see his "home and native land."  Hopefully the Bears offensive line will "stand on guard for thee" for Jay Cutler.

The Bills are the only winless team in the NFL.  However, they have taken their previous two opponents into overtime only to lose.  Offensively they are 26th, but QB Ryan Fitzpatrick & receivers Steve Johnson and Lee Evans have looked good the past few weeks.  Defensively, Buffalo is 29th overall and a league worst 32nd vs the run.

Quick Numbers:

188.7:  Number of rushing yards per game allowed by the Bills, 34 yards worse than 31st ranked Denver.  That's bad.

88.6:  Number of rushing yards per game by the Chicago Bears, good for 26th in the NFL. 

18:  Number of sacks allowed by the Bills this season.  Ranked 21st.

11:  Number of sacks by the Chicago defense.  Ranked 25th.

These teams are perfect for each other!

Key Injuries:


Did Not Participate:  Zack Bowman - foot


Did Not Participate: Andra Davis - shoulder;

When Buffalo Has The Ball:

Buffalo is an OK running team.  Fred Jackson has some talent and they drafted C.J. Spiller 9th overall, yet do not use him very often.  Buffalo's recent competitiveness has to do with the resurgence of Ryan Fitzpatrick.  In his last 3 games he has 8 touchdown passes vs. 3 interceptions and has thrown for 825 yards with a completion percentage of 60%.  With the Bears good run defense, I expect the Bills to try and air it out.  Lee Evans and Steve Johnson have come alive with Fitzpatrick's ascendancy to the starting lineup.  Johnson has 6 touchdown catches in his last 5 games. 

It will be extremely important for the Bears to first stop the run, and then get after Fitzpatrick.  The Bills offensive line has given up 18 sacks this season, so Peppers & Idonije will have an opportunity to get to the QB.

Key Matchup: Steve Johnson vs. Charles Tillman.  At 6-2 and 202 lbs, Johnson is probably just too big for Tim Jennings (Bowman most likely won't play).  The responsibility of keeping Johnson in check falls to the struggling Charles Tillman.  The resurgent Mike Williams of Seattle had a career game in the same situation 3 weeks ago.

X-Factor: Devin Hester of course.  The roof is reported to be closed on the Rogers Centre for Sunday's game.  No elements to worry about.  Good traction.  Hester to the house.

When Chicago Has the Ball:

We've said this time and time again; can we please run the ball a bit more?  Please!  Buffalo has the worst run defense in the league.  I do not care if they put 9 guys in the box.  We need to establish a little bit of a run game.  Jay Cutler is struggling, the receivers are struggling, the offensive line is REALLY struggling.  We need a run game in order to win.  Run the ball a little bit, then play action and boom.  Bears in a rout. 

Key Matchup: Nose Tackle Kyle Williams vs. Olin Kreutz, Roberto Garza, and Chris Williams.  Nose tackles don't often rack up huge numbers, but Kyle Williams already has 3 sacks (more than Peppers btw).  In addition, he has 27 solo tackles.  In comparison, Toeaina, Adams, Melton, and Harris have 30 combined.  Our 4 interior defensive linemen have 30 solo tackles collectively.  Kyle Williams has 27 all by himself.  He's a good player.  Kyle Williams will line up against all 3 of our interior linemen at some point on Sunday.  This matchup is key to the run game and the passing game.

X-Factor:  Jay Cutler's psyche.  I'm all in favor of him playing a very conservative game.  No mistakes.  Just win the game.