The Chicago Bears are .500 for the first time in, well, a long time. After defeating the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night, the Bears will once again hit the road. In what is basically a 9th home game for the Bears, due to the massive contingent of Chicagoans in the Phoenix area, the Bears will invade University of Phoenix Stadium...err State Farm Stadium to take on the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon.
Who are the Cardinals? Well, they are bad. Just how bad? They have been outscored 58-6 in their two games so far in the 2018 season. Yikes, that’s next level bad. It isn’t often that the Bears are favored in a game, much less one on the road, and even less probable when you consider they are favored by 6.5 points! Needless to say, the Bears have an advantage at virtually ever position on the field come Sunday, but they shouldn’t overlook this team.
What to Watch For
On offense, it will be all about Mitch...Trubisky that is. There were some poor throws and decisions last week, but overall, I thought that he had much more command of the offense. It will be up to Matt Nagy to get Trubisky in a rhythm early and then push the envelope. This is the perfect game to try building Trubisky’s confidence on throws downfield. The poise was improved and there needs to be another step taken on Sunday.
While the running game is crucial, I don’t think that the Bears should sit on a lead and try and run out the clock. This is a team that you can score on. The running game will be there, but the Bears offense needs to start attacking vertically as well as horizontally. They need to get tape of it being successful out there or opposing teams are simply going to sell out against the run and take away the short passing game.
If the Bears are going to chuck the ball around, then Trubisky will need time. The pass protection has been excellent through 2 games, despite “giving up” 6 sacks. 2 were scrambles to the line-of-scrimmage, 1 was a butt fumble, 1 was the last play of the game, and another featured a player (at least) 1 yard off-sides at the snap. I am not worried about the protection, it’s been excellent. Now is the time to take advantage of that great protection and take some shots!
Defensively, this has all the makings of a bloodbath. Whether Sam Bradford remains the starter, Mike Glennon makes and appearance, or rookie Josh Rosen gets his first start, this isn’t likely to be pretty. The Cardinals offense has mustered just 350 total yards in 2 games. For comparison, their defense has allowed 429 and 432 yards respectively. Neither Bradford nor Glennon can move, each with the same foot speed as the Statue of Liberty. Would the Cardinals dare make Rosen’s first start against this defense? I should hope not.
All of this looks bad, very, very bad, but this is still an NFL team. The last thing that the Bears can do is get complacent. After a last second loss to the Packers and a too-close-for-comfort win over the Seahawks, the Bears front-7 is going to have to push and keep pushing all game. It should be embarrassing for a defense that features Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan, et al, to allow the Cardinals to even make this game relatively close.
There is virtually no running game to speak of, so watch for another all-out sack barrage from the Bears front. If they can get to the fleet-footed Russell Wilson 6 times, they should be able to replicate that against a statue, a taller statue, or a guys who is likely to crap himself facing the Bears defense for his first taste of NFL action. Either way, I expect to see a lot destruction and red jerseys lying on the ground in this game.
That’s what I will be watching for on Sunday afternoon, what about you? The Bears played a much more complete game against the Seahawks last week. This should be an easy win—if such things exist in the NFL—but they cannot get complacent if they want to take another step.
Check out my ‘which players to watch for’ right here.