The further away I get from that 26 to 23 Chicago Bears overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints, the better I feel about the team. The loss sucked, there’s no question about that, but this Bears team played awful on offense and inconsistent on defense, and they still hung around all game.
They took a lead into the third quarter, lost it, but then scored 10 fourth quarter points to force overtime.
This team is close.
The problem being though, is I’m not sure if they’re close to being bad or close to being good.
If the offense can find some way to click, and I’m talking just get a little better a little by extending drives and getting some first downs, this team could pull off the upset against the Tennessee Titans.
They’ll still need to play a complete game on defense, but the talent is there to get it done. So while I’m not picking the Bears to win, a win wouldn’t shock me.
Now let’s check in on the keys to the game from the WCG staffers...
Offense: Score more than 23 points.
Defense: Just keep on doing what you are doing.
Erik Christopher Duerrwaechter:
Offense: Stop trying to be cute, and go play football. Mike Vrabel has proven himself to be one of the sharpest young coaches in the league, and he’ll give Matt Nagy all he can handle.
Defense: Buckle up, and sell out to stop the run. If you force the Titans to be one dimensional on offense, it will open up the opportunities for big plays.
Special Teams: Take what the return teams give you. They’re not going to give up a lot of return yardage, as they’re fairly disciplined and stay in their lanes during coverage.
The Bears’ offense is not going to pull its own weight. Well, it will, but it’ll drag, plod, and waddle around with no spark in its step.
It’s up to the Bears’ bend-or-break defense to make Ryan Tannehill look like the bust he once was. Expect a 50/50 success rate in that endeavor.
Offense: This Titans team is below average defensively. This needs to be a breath of fresh air for Nick Foles & company after going up against top-10 defenses in 3 of their last 4 games. Keep trying that deep ball, especially to Mooney. Those can really change the game. Footwork is key. For the offensive line, set your feet better and use your leg strength to your advantage. For Nick Foles, stop throwing off your back foot.
Offense: The Titans aren’t exactly stellar on defense, having given up 30+ points in 4 games this year, so the Bears SHOULD be able to move the ball against them. Though given the state of the offensive line, the key is going to be to take what the defense gives you. Focus on the short passing game, play action, feel out the defense and hit the deep ball when it’s there. No need to get fancy.
Defense: Keep Derrick Henry in check, as much as you can. Keep the pressure on Tannehill, and when you get a shot at a turnover, capitalize. This game likely wont be won without a turnover or two.
Special Teams: With Dwayne Harris on the roster, and Ted Ginn off it, all’s right with the 3rd phase. Just keep on keeping on.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.:
With Alex Bars starting at center, Arlington Hambright starting at left guard, and Rashaad Coward starting at right tackle, the Bears need to keep bodies out of the box by spreading things out. The more congestion there is inside, the more chance there’ll be for Bars and Hambright to get confused.
Get Foles in and out of the huddle quick by limiting personal changes, and if he wants to go no huddle from time to time, let him do it. I’d like to see the Bears establish the run, but part of that has to be done by getting Darnell Mooney and Cordarrelle Patterson involved on some jet sweeps and end arounds. Stress the edges of the Titan D, which will loosen things up inside.
On defense, grab on to Henry and hope for help.
What are your keys to the game?