The 3-6 Chicago Bears host the 6-3 Baltimore Ravens, and both teams are coming off a disappointing loss in their last game. The Bears’ comeback came up short in the waning seconds in Pittsburgh back on November 8, while the Ravens we’re smacked around in Miami on November 11.
Baltimore leads their division and are currently the three seed in the AFC, while the Bears desperately need a win to get back in the NFC hunt.
Here’s what a few of our guys think the Bears need to do this week to come away with the victory.
Ken Mitchell: When the Bears are on offense... Baltimore is below average in sacks this season (2.1 per game) and allow 24 points a game (22nd overall). This is not the great Ravens defense that we’ve seen in the past, but what they are good at is stopping the run (88 yards per game). For the Bears to win this game, they are going to have to throw the ball some, which means they need to move Justin Fields around and let him use his arm (and his legs) on rollouts, which is where he excels. Unfortunately, Matt Nagy seems to be allergic to the rollout, so... we will see.
And when the Bears are on defense... Lamar Jackson is the greatest dual-threat quarterback in the history of the NFL, so the key to this game is going to be pretty simple. Can Lamar Jackson beat Roquan Smith? Both of these players are at the top of their games and the top of the league. Both are playing like All-Pros. It’s going to be a fun matchup to watch.
Sam Householder: It’s time to let Justin Fields cook. The Ravens defensive rankings actually play opposite to the Bears’ strengths. They have a top five rushing defense but are dead last in pass defense. So use the run enough to establish play action and move Justin Fields outside the pocket but let the man take some shots. It’s now or never. Fields has looked better and better each week and this is the week that the opponent’s weakness plays into letting Fields cut it loose.
On defense, stay disciplined and sound, don’t let Lamar Jackson get to the edge or it’s about over. If Roquan Smith wants to be an All-Pro, this is a game to really solidify it. Spying Jackson, playing the run and covering Mark Andrews are all going to be keys to slowing down the Ravens.
ECD: On offense, attack the Ravens secondary downfield. Lately, despite having arguably the best corner in football with Marlon Humphries, they’ve been giving up a ton of chunk plays in coverage. In fact, they are dead last in yards allowed per completion at over a whopping 14 yards per completion. Justin Fields has developed a hot hand in getting the ball downfield consistently with deep strikes. Get him going, continue feeding Cole Kmet and Darnell Mooney as they build chemistry with QB1, and then finish the Ravens off with a heavy dose of David Montgomery / Khalil Herbert.
Defensively the Bears need to get back to taking the ball away, and contain Lamar Jackson. Jackson isn’t a run-first QB anymore; however, he still is opportunistic and won’t hesitate tucking the ball away if he sees a big running lane available. Luckily for the Bears, Lamar Jackson is now the only real threat to run the football. Their run scheme has struggled mightily without the Gus Bus this whole season. And, above all else, slam the door shut once the lead is gained.
And in the third phase, let’s start the new streak for Cairo Santos. Don’t take any unnecessary risks with returning the ball; if the ball flies into the end zone, leave it the hell alone. Justin Tucker is the ageless wonder of kickers, returning a kick against him and the Ravens coverage unit is strategic suicide.
Josh Sunderbruch: A game plan is like a tree. Nagy cannot make it blossom when it suits him, nor make it bear fruit before its time. No matter what he does, that seed will grow to be an option-heavy offense. He may wish for a Coryell or an Ernhardt-Perkins, but he will get broken plays.
Robert Zeglinski: The Bears are coming off a bye. They’re out in the open, and the entire league is gunning for them.
I urge Matt Nagy and his ever-hotter infernal seat to remember these solemn thoughts.
A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.
Fools take a knife and stab people in the back. The wise take a knife, cut the cord, and free themselves from the fools.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.: I’m with Sam. This week’s game plan needs to feature Fields. He’s coming off a couple decent games in a row, and in the last 4 games he’s averaging about 40 drop backs a game. The Ravens blitz the third most in the NFL, so if the Bears can clean up the pass protection a bit Fields should have some opportunities for big plays.
Only the Raiders blitz less then Bears, but with Khalil Mack out for the season defensive coordinator Sean Desai will need to change things up and send some extra rushers at Jackson.
What do you guys think the Bears need to do on Sunday to pick up the win?