The Bears and Rams have had their share of fun together over the past couple of years. While Sean McVay and company have taken a hold of the league largely on the strength of a stellar offense (and Aaron Donald), Chicago has become one of the more consistent teams in pro football primarily thanks to the exploits of Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson, and Akiem Hicks among others.
No one can be sure what will transpire at the Coliseum (lite) on Monday night. The only thing for certain is a coming offense-defense chess match pitting some of the league’s best talents and wits against one another.
The Windy City Gridiron staff’s keys to a Bears victory in Southern California.
This one’s going to be a tough one. The Rams are pretty solid and a bad matchup for the Bears.
Offense: The key to the game is to get the ball out quickly, and eat the Rams defense up one bite at a time. Holding the ball against Aaron Donald is a very bad idea. The Rams defense isn’t as good as it has been. Get the ball into the hands of Mooney and Montgomery (out of the backfield) and let them do their thing.
Defense: Crush Jared Goff. Pressure him, shake him, he will make big mistakes. Rattle Goff and the Rams are not nearly as formidable of an offense.
In 2018, the Bears defense broke Jared Goff and laid out the blueprint for smothering the Rams offense that the Patriots stole/copied to win that year’s Super Bore. The Bears deserve at least half that Lombardi trophy (we’ll take the ‘bardi and blast Bodak Yellow as we pass it around club dub).
Without Eddie Goldman scoring safeties and suffocating the run, I recommend the Bears focus on breaking Jared Goff again. Do that and their chance of victory will exceed a sloth-bears’ chance of finding a place to nap in a mattress firm outlet.
Offense: Limit turnovers. It’s much better to punt to this Rams team than to give them a short field after a turnover. Of Mitchell Trubisky’s 32 career interceptions, four have come against the Rams in just two games. Nick Foles needs to prove the Bears were right to make the change. Turnovers aren’t all interceptions, however. After making a 10-yard catch, if you run into traffic, go down. Don’t let Jalen Ramsey and company punch the ball out.
Defense: The main key to this game is going to be winning the turnover battle, and this should come as no surprise. Force turnovers, especially interceptions, which can lead to long run-backs and potentially touchdowns. The Bears are tied as the second-most penalized team. Limit the flags and we can see the touchdown “celly” that Eddie Jackson has been teasing.
Lester Wiltfong Jr.
If they Bears can’t find a way to limit Aaron Donald, he can win this game all by himself. Him versus the Bears interior is a frightening prospect, especially against left guard Rashaad Coward. The Bears need to play with tempo and get to the line quick so Foles can determine the best play based on the Rams’ defense. This could also be a heavy RPO game for the Bears, which is something they’ve done a little more since Foles has taken over.
Offense: Everybody knows the drill by now. Be balanced and unpredictable. Stop trying to run the ball exclusively on first down, and mix up a few quick hitting passes to warm Nick Foles up. Tight end screens, for example, would be a good play to suck in the Rams’ pass rush and exploit their linebackers. Once Foles is warmed up, continue riding the hot hand.
Defense: Continue making Jared Goff’s life miserable. In two career games against the Bears, Goff has zero touchdown passes to five interceptions. I’m not too afraid of Darrell Henderson as a runner. Instead, focus on him once he starts flaring out of the backfield. The Rams’ receivers are young, but talented, and the matchup between Van Jefferson and Jaylon Johnson will be key for success. And, above all else, be ready to play on fourth down.
Special Teams: Pay attention to any suspicious movements or personnel packages on their punting unit. The Rams have succeeded in pulling off fake punts in each of the last two games against the Bears.
This is an easy one. A veritable lay-up. Get in Jared Goff’s face, mug his receivers, and the Rams won’t score enough points, even against a Nick Foles-led offense. This is not an NFL quarterback to be afraid of and L.A. is never going anywhere with him at the helm. An excellent example of this ineptitude is any time he faces a competent, well-coached defense such as the Bears. The results, like the past, should be much of the same.
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