Despite the fact that the Chicago Bears got into the playoffs, many feel they are undeserving of it. They are there, however, and here is a blueprint that could result in a huge upset.
The Chicago Bears are preparing for the Wild Card game against the New Orleans Saints. Not many people expected this to happen a month ago. The Bears were in the midst of a six-game losing streak, fell to third place in the NFC North. They were just a game ahead of the Detroit Lions for last place. Head coach Matt Nagy did a great job of keeping the team together, and they ultimately improved enough to get into the playoffs.
Similar to when the Bears owned a 5-1 record and atop the NFC, the so-called “experts” don’t consider the Bears worthy of their position. They expect a quick exit from the playoffs. That’s why they play the games, though. On paper, they might not have a chance but the games are played on the field.
This is a brand new season. Every team is 0-0. We don’t know what will happen. We’ve seen the most veteran of players make boneheaded mistakes in the playoffs. This is the big stage, and it gets bigger each week. If the Bears put things together, they can come away with a huge upset.
The blueprint to run for victory
There are a few steps the Chicago Bears need to take to win the game this week. Here is the blueprint:
First, the Bears need to continue to feed David Montgomery and feed the backup running backs. If the Bears keep Drew Brees on the bench and not on the field they have a shot of winning. This was the game plan against the Green Bay Packers last week. The Bears ran the ball 31 times. They did a good job of keeping Aaron Rodgers on the bench. The Bears held onto the ball for 11 minutes longer than Green Bay. The priority is to make Brees a spectator more than a player.
Second, the Bears need to get more touchdowns than field goals. While Rodgers wasn’t on the field as much, he threw touchdown passes when he was on the field. He only completed 10 passes in the first half but it was all 10 he threw, and three of those completions were touchdowns. If the Bears keep the Saints’ offense on the bench even more than they did to Green Bay, the score will be lower. If Chicago converts more touchdowns then the chances of an upset rise.
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In order to get those touchdowns, quarterback Mitch Trubisky needs to play well. He cannot make brain farts and threw awful passes like the one he did last week. Since coming back from his benching, he’s had seven turnovers, five of them interceptions and two lost fumbles. Of his five interceptions, three of them were in the end zone. That just cannot happen. Those are 21 points lost.
Trubisky needs to make proper decisions and manage the game well. He has to find a way to lead the offense into the end zone and not just close enough to hit field goals. He needs to hit on some long plays to make the Saints defense more honest. By not doing that last week, the offense had to grind out their yards. If he can hit on some long plays then he gets more room to hit the shorter passes to Allen Robinson underneath and Montgomery could break for larger chunks of yards.
The defense has to come through
The third part of the blueprint involves the defense. As I mentioned, Rodgers wasn’t on the field for a long time but he scored touchdowns nearly every time he led a drive. Trubisky completed 14 more passes and had 12 more passing yards than Rodgers but Rodgers finished with four touchdown passes and led another drive that ended in a rushing touchdown. Trubisky has zero touchdown passes and just one touchdown drive overall.
Because of that, the Chicago Bears defense needs to step up. I wrote an article explaining more in-depth about the defense. The defense needs to make some stops. The Packers scored on all three of their first half drives The Bears defense made two stops in the third quarter, and despite hitting field goals and not getting touchdowns, they had the ball in the fourth quarter with a chance at taking the lead.
The defense needs to take advantage of their opportunities. There were three occasions in which the Bears had chances at interceptions. They weren’t to capitalize on any of them as they dropped each pass. If you give Rodgers an opportunity to make up for his mistake, he’ll be sure to kill you. Brees is similar. He has 12 interceptions and 12 fumbles in 16 career playoff games. If the defense puts pressure on him, he’ll give you a chance at a turnover. The defense needs to take advantage of the chances it receives.
The chances of an upset grow exponentially if the defense makes a couple more stops. If the offense limits the number of New Orleans drives and the defense curtails their scoring, then the Chicago Bears can walk away with a huge upset win.