Ryan Bukowiecki is a student at the Illinois Media School and a contributor to The D & Davis Show
Here is a big week, Chicago Bears fans and faithful, regarding the slim chances that the Bears have in competing for a playoff spot.
Yes, the Bears are not a great team and likely isn’t a playoff team. But, the division is wide open with the Aaron Rodgers injury and the Bears have a chance to get back to .500 before going into the bye week.
Of course if the Bears lose then they will fall to three and five making it very unlikely there will be enough games and time for the Bears to compete for the division.
The Saints will not be an easy opponent especially in the Superdome. The Saints have scored at will this season, scoring 28.5 points per game. Offense has been a regular theme for the Saints and really haven’t had much problem on offense during the Sean Payton and Drew Brees era — the problem has been the other side of the ball.
This season it has been better for the Saints as their defense is ranked 10th and 15th in scoring. Overall the Saints are 4-2 and looking like a potential playoff team. This will be a challenging week for the Bears so here are their keys to beating the Saints.
Keep The Turnovers Coming — The Bears defense has been playing terrific the last two weeks by absolutely dominating the Ravens followed by the Panthers. Part of the dominating recipe has been getting turnovers (and sometimes scoring on them).
The Bears defense will not be able to sustain the scoring they have done on these turnovers. However, the Bears can continue to force turnovers and they will need it against the Saints.
New Orleans features the best offense the Bears have seen since their loss to Green Bay in Week 4. The Bears offense hasn’t been able to score consistently and to expect the Bears to hold the Saints to the low 20s without a turnover doesn’t sound realistic.
Either way the Bears defense has to be strong for the Bears to pull off the upset. One thing to watch out for is the Saints have given up the least amount of sacks and partly because Drew Brees does not hold onto the football. The Bears defense may not be able to get sacks but they have to force the ball out of Brees’s hand and find a way to take the ball.
Dominate Via The Run — The Saints are 15th in run defense while the Bears are seventh in run offense. One of the best ways to stop an opposing offense is by not letting them on the field. The Bears were horrible offensively against the Panthers as they struggled to run the ball and didn’t give Mitch many opportunities to throw the ball.
This week should be a better matchup for the Bears to run the ball. So far the Bears have only won one game in which they didn’t dominate on the ground. Since the Bears are a limited team offensively without WRs, the run game needs to play a big factor in this game. Key numbers for the Bears is getting more than a 120 yards rushing and holding onto the ball more than the Saints.
Mitch Has To Throw — The Bears have really put the handcuffs on their rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Part of the handcuffing is John Fox is trying to win and throwing the ball is just not a strength of the team. But this season is not about making the playoffs, it is about grooming and developing the young QB.
There are going to be games where it is best to take care of the ball and play good defense. There will also be games where Mitch is going to have to make some plays with his arms and feet for the Bears to win…this seems to be one of those weeks. The Saints may score a lot if the Bears don’t control time of possession.
Therefore, they will need more than seven pass attempts to beat the Saints. Now the Bears cannot go slinging the ball around like the Saints can but the goal this week is to make a real effort to push the ball downfield. The Bears don’t have to take shot after shot but there has to be some big plays generated from the passing game.
Don’t Shoot Yourself In The Foot — Looking at the matchup on paper, it seems that the Bears will have a limited amount of opportunities to win this game, being an underdog requires mental strength, discipline and composure.
The Bears have to give themselves a chance to win by first, not committing dumb penalties. This could be a game where crowd noise might affect the communication for the offense but they can’t have a multitude of false starts or holds and being reckless with the ball. The same thing goes for for the other two phases, defense has to limit big plays and again stay disciplined by not committing silly penalties.
Special teams needs to first and foremost do its role by not being a noticeable negative through staying disciplined in their assignments and play. Composure and discipline is not limited to the players. Coaches need to be smart and willing to make adjustments. Even little things like being forced to use a timeout at the wrong time can make a difference in this game.
Execution will be a real test in this game, the goal is making the Saints beat the Bears and not the Bears beating themselves.
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