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Week 14: Rams at Bears Game Preview, Volume II

| December 7th, 2018

…continued.


Why the Bears Will Win

  • Soldier Field. The Bears are simply a different team at home (5-1), where they’d be undefeated if not for a special teams meltdown against the Patriots. Sunday night this high-flying Rams offense is going to experience 20 degrees on the lake. It won’t bother the Bears. It won’t bother their crowd. Will it bother Los Angeles? I have images of the 2005 Atlanta Falcons and 2013 Dallas Cowboys in my head. High-powered, warm weather offenses that boarded their buses to the airport midway through the third quarter.
  • Mitch’s Return. Trubisky’s ability to stretch the field with his arm and extend drives with his legs was sorely missed during the Chase Daniel period. And this is a defense that can:
    • Be exploited at the back end, with Marcus Peters having a nightmare season and Aquib Talib slowly working his way back from injury.
    • Leave huge gaps if they don’t get home to the quarterback. Russell Wilson put up nearly 100 yards on the ground in his last meeting with the Rams.
  • Jared Goff vs. Bears Secondary. One thing that stands out watching is Rams tape is the alarming number of wide open receivers Goff has over the course of a game. (The Chiefs game was an embarrassment.) But Goff was challenged last week in Detroit and probably delivered his most inconsistent/inaccurate performance of the 2018 season. Aside from a few breakdowns at the Meadowlands last week, this Bears secondary usually forces opposing QBs to hit 4-5 good throws to mount a scoring drive. In these conditions, with this pass rush bearing down, that will be a challenge for Goff.

Tweet of the Week


Why They Won’t.

  • Aaron Donald. James Daniels and Cody Whitehair have never seen anything like Donald in current form. I’m not quite sure many guards/centers have, as the man is coasting to the Defensive Player of the Year prize. Donald may not dominate for sixty minutes but he’s sure to make a big play (or three) at critical moments of the game, especially if he decides to line up over the struggling Bryan Witzmann.
  • Run Defense. The Giants may have laid something of a blueprint for attacking Vic Fangio’s aggressive pass rush. (Eli Manning hinted at such during his weekly radio spot on WFAN New York.) Run right at it. Yes, it helps to have a back of Saquan Barkley’s quality but the Rams have that in Todd Gurley. So Fangio should expect McVay to follow the Shurmur template and run Gurley directly at Khalil Mack for much of the evening. If Gurley gets going, the Rams will be unstoppable.
  • Shootout. If this game gets moving in a particular direction, are the Bears really prepared to go toe-to-toe with a high-powered offense? Are they prepared to score 40 if they NEED 40 to win? They have the scheme. They have the talent. They’re more equipped than any time in history to engage such a battle but they’ve never actually done it. The Rams are seasoned as playing such games. They play them every other week because they don’t defend well.

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Week 14: Rams at Bears Game Preview, Volume I

| December 6th, 2018


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears…

…and I like this moment for this team.  This game is the litmus test. This game will tell us whether to be content with taking the first big step and making the postseason or whether the 2018 Bears are capable of challenging the best teams in football for a Super Bowl title. Any result is an interesting one.


The Aaron Donald Limerick

There now lives a monster at tackle

Who moves with the burst of a jackal

He’ll rip up your guard

Leave him battered and scarred

Then cover the QB in Spackle™


Three Thoughts on the L.A. Rams

  • There really is no way to describe what Aaron Donald is doing this season. The last two games for the Rams – against Kansas City and Detroit – have been dogfights. In both of those games, Donald turned the tide with sacks and forced fumbles. He has four sacks and three forced fumbles in those two games ALONE. This is not a good Rams defense. You could argue this is a BAD Rams defense. But they make big plays and they feature the best player in the entire league through the first twelve games of 2018.
  • This is a prolific, well-coached offense. But the best defense they’ve faced on the road this season is Denver and in that game they mustered only 23 points. (With Todd Gurley rushing for more than 200 yards!) Rams were also up only 16-13 on the Lions in the fourth quarter last week until Donald did his thing. The approach for the Bears defense here is simple: keep the Rams in third-and-long and then get home with the pass rush. But that’s kind of the game plan against every offense.
  • The Rams allow more than five yards per carry, putting them near the bottom of the league. No, I’m not going to predict the Bears to have a breakout game on the ground. The dog ain’t gonna hunt in 2018. But this is a game where the creative run game – Gabriel and Cohen outside – and Mitch Trubisky’s legs should pay dividends. The Bears need to do everything in their power Sunday night to keep the football out of Jared Goff’s hands. That means running the ball and moving the chains.

Tomorrow: More Analysis & Prediction!

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