The Bears hit the road this week to travel to Maryland and take on the Baltimore Ravens.
The Bears-Ravens recent history has been marred by bad weather with storms delaying their 2013 match up at Soldier Field and their 2009 game having the start time pushed back due to a snowstorm.
Weather doesn’t appear to be a factor for this weekend as mostly sunny skies and warm temperatures should make for a pleasant, if warm, day of football.
As far as the game, it’s tough to say which team has had a more disappointing run so far this season.
The Bears are 1-4 and have had a chance to win at least two of those losses and gotten stomped on in the others. The Ravens started to a quick 2-0 then fell back to earth with back-to-back blowout losses before bouncing back against Oakland last week against the Raiders’ back up QB.
SB Nation Site: Baltimore Beatdown
Record: 3-2 (1st AFC North)
Last Week: 30-17 win over the Raiders in Oakland
Bears All-Time Record Against: 3-2
Historical Match Ups: This series goes all the way back through five games to 1998, so not a ton of history.
In their first-ever meeting the Bears faced former QB Jim Harbaugh in Week 16. The Bears played tough defense and used that Steve Stenstrom to Curtis Conway connection to get a 24-3 win.
Of the previous five match ups, four were featured the losing team scoring less than 10 points and two were blowouts.
The most interesting game between the two teams was actually...
Last Meeting: A Bears 23-20 win in Week 11 of 2013. The game took a stunning 5 hours, 16 minutes to play due to a couple of weather delays.
Josh McCown led the Bears with an efficient, albeit underwhelming offense with 213 yards and a TD while Matt Forte added 125 yards of total yards to go with the TD he caught from McCown. David Bass returned a Joe Flacco interception for six while Robbie Gould kicked three field goals, including the game winner in OT.
Injury Report: The Ravens are dealing with a ton of injuries much like the Bears are. Baltimore has 14 players on injured reserve and list 11 on their Wednesday injury report:
- DT Carl Davis Did Not Participate due to a thigh injury
- DT Brandon Williams DNP due to a foot injury
- TE Maxx Williams fully participated as he returns from an ankle injury
- CB Jaylen Hill was limited with a thigh injury
- LB/CB Anthony Levine was limited by a thigh injury
- WR Jeremy Maclin was limited with a shoulder injury
- WR Breshad Perriman DNP due to a knee injury
- OL Matt Skura DNP due to a knee injury
- CB Jimmy Smith DNP due to a knee injury
- RB Terrance West DNP due to a calf injury
- OLB Tim Williams was limited by a thigh injury
Offense: The Ravens offense is struggling, coming into the game ranked 28th in yards with 288.8 yards per game 24th with 18 points per game.
The Ravens have the second-worst passing offense in the league, averaging a paltry 158.4 yards per game while their rushing offense ranks sixth in the league with 130.4 yards per game.
Joe Flacco has been struggling with a 71 QB rating, 823 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions.
The team’s main passing weapons are receptions leader RB Javorius Allen (20 rec./97 yds./1 TD) and yardage leader WR Mike Wallace (12/209/1) and TD leader WR Jeremy Maclin (16/159/2). TE Ben Watson (18/148/1) is also in the mix.
The rushing attack is led by Allen, who is an all-purpose back, with 66 carries, 232 yards and one touchdown on the ground to go with his receiving stats. While he’s averaging just 3.5 yards per carry, he leads the team in carries by 27. Behind Allen West (39/138/2) and Alex Collins (37/261/0) split the duties behind him. Collins appears to be the big play threat, with a long run of 50 yards and a healthy 7.1 YPC average.
Defense: The fearsome Baltimore Ravens defense that they are known for appears to be in tact as they enter the game ranked 16th in yards allowed (328.6) and 10th in points allowed on a per-game basis.
The passing defense ranks ninth allowing 205.2 yards per game through the air while the rushing defense comes in 23rd allowing 123.4 yards per game.
The secondary of the Ravens is scary good, especially with a rookie QB leading the offense. Baltimore has nine interceptions on the season, the second most in the league. They are led by Eric Weddle, Lardarius Webb and Brandon Carr with two interceptions apiece and Jimmy Smith who has one.
Linebackers C.J. Mosley and Tyus Bowser each have a pick as well.
Mosley is becoming a great all-around LB, to go with his pick he leads the Ravens in tackles with 34 and has a forced fumble and two pass deflections as well.
As far as pass rush, the Ravens have 12 sacks, led by Terrell Suggs with four, followed by safety Tony Jefferson with two. Webb, Patrick Onwuasor, Michael Pierce, Za’Darius Smith, Bowser and Anthony Levine each have one sack.
Seeing as safeties and CBs have sacks, it shows just how many looks and blitzes the Ravens will likely throw at Mitch Trubisky on Sunday from defensive coordinator Dean Pees.
Trubisky will have his work cut out for him.
Key Match Ups: Seeing as how the Ravens defense is playing and seeing what their strengths are, it’s going to be Trubisky vs. the secondary. The young QB has to be careful with the football, even more so than last week when he was facing Pro-Bowlers safety Harrison Smith and CB Xavier Rhodes.
It’s also going to be up to the offensive line to play a clean game and protect Trubisky. The QB will need to call out the blocks and try and key in on who is the mike, who is blitzing and all those things.
This defense is really going to test Trubisky.
On defense, Danny Trevathan will be back and with that hopefully there will be less scrambling to line everybody up and ideally the run defense will be better than having third and fourth LBs back there.
Akiem Hicks and Leonard Floyd should take advantage of a beat up Ravens line missing Marshal Yanda.
In the secondary the safeties and corners will try to slow down Mike Wallace, the deepest threat that the Ravens have.
What to Watch For: Let’s see what The Kid can do against another stout defense.
That said, I think that the running game is going to be really key this week, the secondary is playing some of the best ball in the league and the Ravens’ numbers against the run aren’t as good. So expect a more conservative game plan and a healthy dose of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen.
The defense will need to slow down the Ravens’ rushing attack and get after Joe Flacco. He has been struggling and there will be chances to rattle him and maybe (longshot) force some turnovers.
Key Stats: The teams have won every-other-game in this series, which is just a weird pattern.
Joe Flacco is off to one of the worst starts in his career. Through five games he’s had the fewest TD passes since his rookie year and the third-most interceptions. His 71.0 QB rating is the third-lowest of his career through five games as well.
The Ravens are +3 in the turnover margin but had 10 turnovers in their first two games (against the Bengals and Browns) and have just two since, while the offense had three turnovers over the first two games but have six since.
Do you like the Bears chances Sunday?