The Chicago Bears host the Indianapolis Colts in Week 4. They’re trying to keep their undefeated record intact. Here are predictions for the game.
Well, we are in Week 4 of the NFL season, and the Chicago Bears are the unlikeliest undefeated team in the league. It wasn’t pretty, but the Bears and their fans will certainly take the results.
This season has been as crazy as the year 2020 has been in general. We just have to expect the unexpected.
The Bears enter the game with a few new wrinkles. The starting quarterback (for now) going forward is Nick Foles. Mitchell Trubisky could not turn in a complete game and the roller coaster ride with him was going down last week against the porous Atlanta Falcons (missing four starters) defense. Head coach Matt Nagy decided to pull Trubisky and Foles came in.
Foles brought in excitement with his deep passes. He threw for three touchdowns (and had two more reversed), leading the Bears to a comeback victory. He played so well that Nagy declared Foles as the starter for the foreseeable future.
Now Foles leads the offense against a tough Colts defense. Let’s see how he fares in his first start.
For now, however, here are some predictions for the game.
The defense performs better against the run
The Bears’ defense gets a lot of criticism for not being as dominant as people expected. The defense hasn’t been bad at all, however. They have the “bend but don’t break” attitude.
While the Bears rank 17th in passing yards allowed, they rank in the top ten in touchdowns allowed (1st), passing touchdowns allowed (7th), and average yards allowed per completion (6th). Not shabby at all.
The run defense, though, is another thing. The Bears rank 17th in rushing yards allowed, 20th in rushing touchdowns allowed, and 26th in average yards per rush.
Obviously, the Bears have some work to do against the run, something they’ve been great at in recent years. Part of that is because their best run stuffer, Eddie Goldman, opted out of the season. Bilal Nichols took over, but he still needs to get more accustomed to playing a new position.
Each of the starting running backs had their best numbers going up against the Bears. Sure, Saquon Barkley left early in the second quarter after tearing his ACL, but he already had 28 yards on four carries to that point.
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The Colts have a mixed bag of results with their running game. They’ll keep running the ball as they rank 7th in rushing attempts. They rank 15th in rushing yards, 14th in touchdowns, and 23rd in yards per rush. Jonathan Taylor is the Colts’ leading rusher with 182 yards, averaging 3.8 yards per rush.
This is a game in which the Bears should do a better job of stopping the run. If they do that, Colts quarterback Philip Rivers is a perfect target for the Bears pass rush. He isn’t mobile, and while he ranks 10th in passing yards, those yards haven’t translated to big plays. The Colts offense ranks 26th in touchdowns, and 20th in interceptions thrown.
Predictions: Bears defense gets two interceptions and three sacks. Taylor runs for 43 yards.
Mooney and Graham have a big game
So far this season, wide receiver Darnell Mooney earned Nagy’s trust. He saw his snap count rise in each game. That continues in this game.
Mooney gets his opportunity to show off his blazing speed. Foles does a good job of getting the ball right where the receiver needs it to be. He gives the receiver the opportunity to make a play after the catch.
Opposing defenses had no respect for Trubisky’s deep passing so they all moved close to the line of scrimmage. That makes it difficult to have open receivers or for the running backs to find open holes.
In just a quarter and a half, Foles had touchdown passes of 28 yards, 29 yards, 30 yards, and 37 yards. Trubisky’s longest completion for the season was 28 yards. Now, opposing defenses have to respect the deep pass, opening up space underneath. With that space, the receivers can make plays.
Mooney will do just that. He can get open and take off on a one-on-one. He’ll take a short pass and turn it into a huge play.
Graham has already paid dividends for the Chicago Bears tight ends unit. He has three touchdown catches, more than what the entire unit had in 2019. With more concern for the deep ball, Graham will have opportunities underneath. Additionally, he’ll be a great red zone target.
The Bears have a tough matchup against the Colts, however. They boast the number one defense overall, and number one in passing yards allowed, interceptions, and average yards per completion. This is a different Chicago Bears offense, though. It’ll be interesting to see which of these two units come out on top.
Prediction: Mooney has 6 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown. Graham has four catches for 52 yards and a touchdown.
Foles shows why he is the best chance for the Bears to win
Foles is ready to take on this challenge. The system is made for him. Additionally, this coaching staff has experience with him. People can say what they want about Cam Newton but Foles is the best option at running this offense (other than Patrick Mahomes, of course).
All those deep passes give the Colts something to think about. Not only did he do it last week but he also has a history of doing this. He’s calm under pressure and he’ll take what the defense gives him. He won’t panic and will go through his progressions. This is what makes him dangerous.
The receivers had an extra pep in their step when Foles came onto the field last week. If you had a lie detector test on them you’d probably find out that they’re more comfortable with Foles leading the offense. Also, they know that every receiver on the field has to be on the lookout for the pass. Before, with Trubisky, if you weren’t a target he wouldn’t even look your way. This is a better-run offense with Foles leading it.
Prediction: Foles throws for 241 yards and 3 touchdowns.