Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?
I always like the Chicago Bears…
…and I think they have something cooking right now.
How Things Stack Up
- Aaron Rodgers is having a very interesting season.
- His quarterback rating is north of 100 because it always will be. He doesn’t throw interceptions and interceptions are the rating killer. But his QBR is below Kyler Murray’s. And while QBR should not be used as any kind of definitive barometer, it is a nice additional tool to evaluate performance.
- Rodgers simply hasn’t looked comfortable in this Matt LaFleur offense and the team is averaging 18.8 points per game over their last five. (The Bears are averaging 18.7 points per game this season.)
- Pass defense is very hard to gauge statistically because garbage time greatly skews the numbers. But the Bears rank 4th in yards per completion against at 6.6. The Packers rank 25th in the same stat at 7.9. This is a pass defense that has shown tremendous vulnerability in recent weeks. (I bet them against the Giants and their defense simply couldn’t get off the field on ANY third downs.)
- You want the most significant mismatch in this game, outside of quarterback? Mason Crosby is having an absolutely brilliant season. He’s 16/17 on field goals and hasn’t missed a kick since September. Eddy Pineiro is bad at his job. If this game is a close one, Green Bay advantage.
- The advantage flips when it comes to the return game, however. The Packers rank last in punt return average and near the bottom of the league in kickoff returns. The Bears have the best return game in the league, even though Tarik Cohen’s decision making has been suspect. But when Cohen has the ball in his hands he’s still electric. And Cordarrelle Patterson is heading to the Pro Bowl.
- Three column headlines from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tell the story of how the Packers are perceived locally:
- Why are the Packers 10-3 and the Bears 7-6? In the NFL, turnovers often tell the tale. The Packers are +11. The Bears are +1. If the Bears can flip that script this week, they’ll win on the road.
Tweet of the Week
Khalil Mack is preparing for the Bears’ matchup with the Packers on Sunday.
He’s also playing Secret Santa, having paid off $80,000 worth of layaway accounts at the Walmart in his hometown of Fort Pierce, Fla.https://t.co/eN8lkqrg1C
— Chicago Tribune Sports (@ChicagoSports) December 10, 2019
Three questions that will define the game.
(1) Can the Bears stop the run with Kwik and KPL manning the inside linebacker positions?
My answer: yes. They won’t dominate in run defense but they’ll keep things in front of them.
(2) Can Mitch Trubisky continue his fine play or will he revert to early-season struggles?
My answer: he plays well. Mike Pettine is going to bring pressure and I expect Trubisky to use his legs a ton at Lambeau Field to avoid it.
(3) With this rivalry always being tight, can the Bears overcome a bad kicker?
My answer: barely.
Chicago Bears 20, Green Bay Packers 17
Tomorrow: Game Poem