The Chicago Bears try to end their four-game losing streak by taking the road and facing the hated Green Bay Packers. Here are some predictions for the game.
The Chicago Bears come out of their bye week by facing the Green Bay Packers on the road. If a team ever needed that bye week it was Chicago. They are in the midst of a four-game losing streak. The offense, which struggled all season to move the ball, has ground to a halt. Injuries have mounted along the offensive line, completely shattering a unit that struggled to begin with.
Head coach Matt Nagy gave up playcalling duties to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor in Week 10 of the season against the Minnesota Vikings but things didn’t change much. The run game still struggled and the only touchdown scored by the Bears was on Cordarrelle Patterson‘s 104-yard kickoff return to start the third quarter.
To be fair, however, there wasn’t much Lazor could change in a matter of days. He now has two weeks between games to make real changes. We’ll see what happens with the offense this week and beyond.
This will be a tough game for the Bears this week. The Packers lead the NFC North and pretty much own the Bears. In the past six seasons, the Bears have a record of 2-10 against Green Bay. At this point, who leads the offense as the quarterback is still in question. Starter Nick Foles hurt his hip/glute late in the game against the Vikings. Backup Mitchell Trubisky was also hurt, but he’s week-to-week. Nagy said that Foles’ injury wasn’t as serious as once thought so he could go this week. However, he hasn’t practiced while Trubisky has. It looks as if Trubisky could start but as of now, there is no official word.
We’ll see how the game goes this Sunday night. For now, here are some predictions for the game.
The running game needs to be involved
One of the biggest problems of the Chicago Bears offense is the running game. The running backs just haven’t been involved for some reason. The same problem occurred last season. At the end of the season, Nagy spoke about involving the running game more. That hasn’t happened this season, though. The Bears ran the ball about 41 percent of the time. This season, that total came down to 35 percent of the time.
Against the Vikings, the Bears ran just 17 times, 12 of them by Patterson. They have two established running backs in Lamar Miller and Artavis Pierce yet tried to continue to push Patterson. Patterson is good as an all-around Swiss Army knife player, but having him at running back consistently isn’t a very good option for the offense.
David Montgomery is back and adding him to Miller and Pierce I think gives the Bears a pretty good trio of running backs. Lazor can keep feeding the three and try to wear down the opposing defense without wearing down a running back.
The Packers rank 21st in average yards per run given up and 20th in rushing touchdowns allowed. This is a defense that the Bears need to exploit. Chicago faced a number of weak defenses this season without exploiting them. If it doesn’t change this week, then they’ll continue their losing streak.
If the offensive line can just hold up a bit the running backs could have a good game. According to Pro-football-reference.com, Montgomery ranks third in the NFL in broken tackles with 18. In college, he led the nation in broken tackles. That skill continues into the pro level. If he does it consistently against the Packers he can break one of those would-be tackles and make a big run.
Prediction: The Bears rush for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The offensive line needs to play well
Yes, having the offensive line play well is a given. When talking to any Chicago Bears fan, the first thing that comes up is how horrible the offensive line is. The perception is that whatever problem that comes up with the offense it’s the offensive line’s fault.
The offensive line has struggled, but that happens when most of the starters go down. left guard James Daniels‘ season got cut by a pectoral tear in Week 5. Center Cody Whitehair and right tackle Bobby Massie hurt their legs. Whitehair is available this week but Massie is still out. Tackle Jason Spriggs and center Sam Mustipher also are available.
Hopefully, with some of the linemen coming back the offensive line performs better. Again, this is a weak Packers defense that doesn’t have a brutal pass rush. They won’t force turnovers. They rank 29th in turnovers overall and 26th in interceptions. The Bears’ line needs to impose its will on the Packers’ defensive front.
Prediction: The Bears’ offensive line gives up just one sack and opens up holes for the running backs to play well.
The rookie receiver has a breakout game
The Bears’ wide receivers corps aside from Allen Robinson hasn’t been consistent enough for success this season. It’s amazing how well Robinson’s season is considering everyone on the field knows that he’s the only consistent player on offense. For the Bears to win, another receiver needs to step up.
Rookie Darnell Mooney should be that receiver.
Mooney has earned more snaps as the season progresses. He’s come close to making big plays. The time has come for him to make the big catch. If the line holds up on Sunday night, Mooney could make some plays. He has the speed to separate from the Packers’ secondary. Also, he runs good routes so if the quarterback places the ball well he’ll be there to make the catch.
If Mooney does make plays, that relieves a lot of pressure on Robinson. The Packers likely use their best corner on him, Jaire Alexander. That gives Mooney a chance to make big plays.
Prediction: Mooney has 6 catches for 92 yards and a touchdown.
Quinn has to start making his own plays
Robert Quinn signed a big free agent contract this offseason to complement Khalil Mack. While he’s helped Mack this season, he hasn’t gotten his numbers. He has only one sack, recorded on the first snap he played in Week 2 after missing Week 1. Also, he has only nine tackles. However, he does have two forced fumbles.
Those numbers aren’t what the Bears expect from someone who has a 5-year, $70 million deal. Helping Mack is great and all, but Quinn needs to do more and he knows it.
I’ll be honest, it’s been very average, not up to my standards. I don’t know. It’s just been one of those years, just hasn’t been one of my best years but we still got a chance… I’m just trying to be the best player I can be. Why things aren’t going the way I expect them to, I don’t know. But I’m just trying to disrupt as much as I can. Even if I don’t get the quote-un-quote sack or TFL, if I can free up someone else to make a play that’s still being effective.
If Quinn wants fans to disregard his troubles up to this point, he needs to have a big game against the Packers. Helping Mack and the rest of the defense shut down Aaron Rodgers and coming away with a big upset win, he needs to make his own plays. Also, if the Bears win just two games between this week and the rest of the season, they better be against the Packers. It’ll go a far way to endear himself to Chicago Bears Nation by helping beat them.
Prediction: Quinn finishes the game with 4 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. He also pressures Rodgers into throwing an interception.