Coming off of the bye week can either be a gift or a curse. When you roll up 48 points the week prior, it’s hard to say which it will be. Is it better to keep the momentum going or does the bye week allow the team to get rest and not get too full of themselves after a big win? I am not really sure, but my gut tells me it was a good thing for a young team that might need to be reigned in at times as they learn how to win.
The Bears head down to Miami this Sunday to play a tough Dolphins team. Well, their defense is tough anyway. That offense should allow the Bears to keep their #1 ranking in defensive DVOA. So what will the Bears need to do catch a fish (yes, I am aware that dolphins are mammals) a little bigger than a salmon?
Keys to the Game
Clean Pockets: The Dolphins really need to pressure the quarterback for their defense to be successful. They have gotten plenty of pressure on quarterbacks this year, which has led to interceptions. The Bears are going to have to give Mitch Trubisky clean pockets to work from as much as possible. If Trubisky stays clean, the offense shouldn’t have any trouble putting up points on Sunday.
Hit Parade: ***I am by no means advocating violence or playing dirty*** Ryan Tannehill has a bum throwing shoulder and Brock Osweiler is the backup quarterback. With Miami’s inability to run the ball and their suspect offensive line, they need to put Tannehill on his back as much as possible. I don’t want to see any players get hurt but there are only so many hits an injured joint can take before a player taps out. So while sacks are fun, in this case, getting quarterback hits might lead to more turnovers and poor plays from Tannehill, who is capable of making in bunches.
The X-Factor: Special teams are going to play a role in this game I think. At a time when special teams are perhaps the least important that they have been in decades, both the Bears and the Dolphins are pretty darn good in the 3rd phase. The Bears need to at least match the Dolphins special teams. That means not giving up any big plays and perhaps getting a few nice punt returns from Tarik Cohen. Could this be a Cody Parkey revenge game? Let’s shoot for touchdowns instead m’kay?
What are your keys to the game? The Bears are staring at a 4-1 start to the season with 2 of the next 3 opponents ranking neat the bottom of the NFL, if they can past the Dolphins and their defense.