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What are the sneaky strengths of the Chicago Bears?

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Every team does something good, so the folks over at Football Outsiders crunched their numbers to find out what the Chicago Bears do good on offense and defense.

Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

A couple weeks ago we spotlighted our exclusive Q&A with Football Outsiders about the 2018 Chicago Bears. In case you missed any of those articles you can check them out right here.

Football Outsiders is probably my go-to site when looking up analytics. Their DVOA advanced metric (explained here) is one that our writers reference a lot when looking at the Bears and the NFL in general. In a recent ESPN Insider piece, Football Outsiders looked at the one thing each team does well on offense and defense. Their findings for the Bears surprised me, but more surprising is how much better they should be in both of these important categories when considering the changes to the team this year.

Offense: Red zone rushing

The Bears ranked No. 1 in DVOA rushing in the red zone, even though they were 17th in rushing DVOA overall.

Jordan Howard wasn’t as effective in 2017 as he was as a rookie in 2016. The Dowell Loggians/John Fox predictable offense had something to do with that, but so did how he was used. The Bears didn’t spread things out and let him run from the shotgun like he did two years ago.

How much better will Chicago’s red zone rushing attack be when teams have to concern themselves with the red zone passing attack they now have?

Defense: Third-and-long

Chicago’s defense ranked second in the league in DVOA when it was third down with 7 or more yards to go.

So last year the Bears struggled to get consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but they still managed to rank second on third and seven or more?

That’s a crazy stat.

Now imagine Khalil Mack rushing the quarterback on third and long for the Bears.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Imagine Akiem Hicks not being double teamed and offenses not chipping on Leonard Floyd.

Imagine how much less the secondary has to cover on third and longs with the Bears pass rushers in quarterback’s faces.

Red zone scoring and third down conversions are two key stats that are usually associated with winning teams, so how close is this Bears’ bunch from being good?