Before the season this was one of the most highly anticipated games of the year. Matt Nagy vs. his mentor Andy Reid, a battle of the 2017 Draft class QBs Patrick Mahomes and Mitchell Trubisky, and a great offense against a great defense.
And now it’s here and I know I’m dreading it.
A three hour praise fest for Mahomes, talk of the disappointment of Chicago’s season, all of the memes and ‘how did Chicago think this guy was going to be better than Mahomes’ you can handle.
It’s going to be a bad night on the internet for Bears fans, I think. It’s a shame this game wasn’t moved out of prime time to save Chicago a little face. We’ve been taking the Ls for weeks and now it feels like we’re going to have to pick the entire crop of them.
Maybe I’m wrong, maybe the players will fight and play hard for their coach and their QB that they know has been dragged through the mud. But even if they do play their hearts out, does this team really have the talent to hang with the Chiefs?
Kansas City Chiefs
SB Nation site: Arrowhead Pride
Game day/time, TV: Sunday, 7:20 p.m. CT, NBC
Record: 10-4, first in AFC West
Bears all-time record against: 7-5
Historical meetings: Week 17, 2003, the 7-8 Bears traveled to Kansas City to face the 12-3 Chiefs.
The Bears ended up playing three quarterbacks that day: Rex Grossman started, then left the game with an injury and Kordell Stewart relieved him but then they had to go back to Chris Chandler.
They combined to go 17 for 42 for 198 yards and two interceptions. The Bears lost 31-3 and Dick Jauron was fired the next day.
Last meeting: The Bears traveled to Arrowhead in week five of 2015.
Down 17-3 at halftime, the Bears rallied behind two fourth quarter Jay Cutler touchdowns, one to Marquess Wilson and one to Matt Forte with 18 seconds left to give the Bears an 18-17 win (they went for two after both TDs and failed).
Lamar Houston, Pernell McPhee and Willie Young each had a sack and Matt Forte had 109 total yards.
Injury report: The Chiefs listed nine players on their Wednesday injury report but only four were limited in one way or another:
Limited: RB Damien Williams (rib), CB Rashard Fenton (hamstring), CB Morris Claiborne (shoulder)
Did not participate: G Andrew Wylie (ill/ankle/shoulder)
Offense: The Chiefs come into the game with the fourth ranked offense in points and fifth ranked in yards.
Their passing offense is third yards and 25th in rushing yards.
Led by the one we all know Patrick Mahomes (65.7 pct. cmp./3,606 yds./23 TD/4 INT) who is having a season that pales in comparison to his MVP campaign of a year ago but is still playing at an extremely high level.
Mahomes’s leading receiver is TE Travis Kelce (86 rec./1,131 yds./4 TD), his touchdown reception leader is Tyreek Hill (49/727/7). There’s still plenty of weapons after that with Sammy Watkins (49/637/3), Demarcus Robinson (30/412/3) and Mecole Hardman (25/508/6).
The Chiefs running backs LeSean McCoy (28/181/1) and Damien Williams (23/156/1) are also capable pass catchers. On the ground they’ve split the carries relatively closely, McCoy (101 att./465 yds./4 TD) gets the edge over WIlliams (83/309/3).
This offense has speed, it has huge play ability and it has a quarterback that can evade rushers, find openings and make every throw in the book.
Defense: The Chiefs, while not known for their defense are playing pretty well on that side of the ball and rank 10th in points allowed and 18th in yards allowed.
Their passing defense ranks 11th in yards and their rushing defense ranks 26th.
Their biggest defensive playmaker is probably DE Frank Clark (6 sk/3 FF/3 PD/10 TFL/11 QB hits/1 INT) who makes a ton of big plays and has really worked for them since coming over in a trade from Seattle.
Their sack leader is actually DT Chris Jones (7 sk/17 QB hits/6 TFL/1 FF/4 PD) and they also have Emmanuel Ogbah (5.5 sk/6 TFL/11 QB hits/3 PD), Alex Okafor (5 sk/1 FF/5 TFL),
Linebackers Damien Wilson (76 tkls/1.5 sk/1 FF) and Anthony Hitchens (72 tkls/2 sk/4 QB hits) are playing well in the middle.
In the secondary CB Charvarius Ward (64 tkls/9 PD/2 INT) and safeties Tyrann Mathieu (62 tkl/3 INT/2 sk/9 PD) and Juan Thornhill (53 tkl/5 PD/3 INT) are also making big plays.
Kyle Fuller’s brother Kendall (38 tkl/2 PD/1 sk/3 TFL) will also be in on the action, for those that care about family this time of year.
Key match ups: The speed of the Chiefs’ receivers, particularly Hill, Watkins and Hardman against Prince Amukamara, who is recovering with his hamstring, Kyle Fuller and Buster Skrine are all big match ups.
The pass rush also has to show up big this week. Mahomes is amazing but like all quarterbacks, he doesn’t like to be pressured, but he also has to be contained inside of the pocket because of his ability to improvise, make throws on the run and make something out of nothing.
On offense, the Bears have to establish and stick with the run. This offense looks so much better when Trubisky has the play-action available to him. Running David Montgomery effectively will shorten the game and keep the ball out of Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense’s hands.
Move the pocket, get plays that Trubisky is comfortable running and help him be at his best.
What to watch for: If you’d like to die, here’s a drinking game for you.
Every time Mahomes is described as ‘amazing,’ ‘the best in the league,’ or ‘video game-like’ take a drink.
Finish your drink anytime someone on TV says ‘you can’t compare Trubisky and Mahomes’ and then they compare them anyway, ‘these guys are always going to be tied together because of that draft’ or there is a graphic showing the disparity between the two players.
Take a shot every time stats of all of the first round quarterbacks from 2017 are shown, Trubisky is described as ‘struggling,’ ‘embattled,’ ‘trying to get his potential unlocked’ or ‘the one from the 2017 draft class with the most questions.’
You should be passed out by the end of the first quarter, have alcohol poisoning by the two minute warning and dead by the end of halftime.
Bonus: Take a shot every time they cut to Ryan Pace and/or Virginia McCaskey in the box after a Mahomes throw/big play, finish your drink if they say ‘But Nagy/Pace say Trubisky is still their guy and they’ve stuck with him’ and ‘Trubisky was the first quarterback taken in 2017 but hasn’t played like it.’ Final bonus: Turn your computer and TV off and cry after someone on Twitter trolls the Bears for the 18,000 time Sunday night.
Key stats: The Chiefs have rolled up at least 300 yards of offense 12 times this year and six times have gone over 400 yards of offense (plus two 500 yard games). The Bears have gone over 300 yards five times and 400 yards twice.
Mahomes has been better on the road than at home. He has a 5.1 percent higher completion rate, three more touchdowns, eight more passing yards and a three-point higher QB rating.
Despite having the ninth most touchdowns in the league, the Chiefs rank 18th in redzone attempts, a testament to their big play ability. They score on 48.3 percent of their drives, second in the league to the Ravens.
The lowest number of points the Chiefs have scored this year was 13. That was the only game that they were held under 23 points. The Bears have scored more than 23 points just four times.
What will it take for the Bears to get an upset win Sunday night?