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Chicago Bears at Buffalo Bills Preview: Keys to the Game

The Bears got back on track last week, but can they keep the train a rollin’ against a very beatable Bills team?

NFL: New York Jets at Chicago Bears Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears are finally ending their AFC East portion of the 2018 schedule. The last team on this odd quirk of scheduling is the Buffalo Bills. Coincidentally, the Bills are also the team that the Bears should have the easiest time beating. The Bills boast a very solid defense, but that offense is enough to hearken back to the 2005 Bears with Craig Krenzel at the helm.

Watching Nathan Peterman quarterback your team reminds me of the Haitian Voodoo rattle torture. Fortunately for the Bears, we get to watch our defense go up against Peterman, not watch him quarterback our team. Whether or not Khalil Mack is wearing cleats or Italian Captoe Oxfords, the Bears defense should be able to rattle Peterman into turning the ball over. This game truly falls into the category of “should win.”

Keys to the Game

Pound the Rock: Typically Matt Nagy likes to get the passing game going and then salt the game away on the ground. I think it’s time to change course, well for this week anyway. The Bills defense is tough. The last thing the Bears can afford to do is turn the ball over, especially early. Running the ball in the first half will be crucial. The defense shouldn’t have much issue with Buffalo’s offense, but that can all change with short fields. Run the ball, open up the play-action passing, and shorten the game. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just win the game.

Stay the Course: After some questionable decisions with his game planning, Vic Fangio got back to what this defense does best last week, and the results were great. He needs to stay the course and not get too cute with his game plan. The Bills offense has a bad offensive line, a worse quarterback, mediocre receiving threats, and an ineffective LeSean McCoy. My guess is we see a heavy dose of the running game and wildcat looks with McCoy at the point. If the Bears just play their game and stop the run, the Bills won’t have much of a chance in this one.

The X-Factor: The Bears finally get to play on a really nice playing surface again. Both the Bills and Patriots looked really fast on Monday night, and I expect to see the Bears look fast too. Tarik Cohen and Taylor Gabriel have been having really nice seasons to this point, I am really curious to see what they look like on turf. The only other game played on turf so far was in Arizona, and the Bears offense hadn’t clicked yet. I am excited by the possibilities of watching Cohen’s jittery movements and Gabriel’s straight-line speed on Buffalo’s surface.

What are your keys to the game? With 3 tough divisional games on the horizon, the Bears can ill-afford to overlook a Bills team with an outstanding defense.