By Ryan Bukowiecki (@ryanbski)
Reeling from back to back losses in a six-day span, the Chicago Bears travel down to Tennessee this weekend and take on the Titans in a critical mid-season game.
This might have been more of a leisurely trip down South, in spite of the competition the Titans present, had Chicago been able to retain any of the happy go lucky feelings from a 5-1 start. But in losing performances to the Rams and Saints, each full of self-inflicted mistakes and inexpiable steps back, the Bears are now on the verge of a 5-4 record even if they improve offensively on the past two performances, which could very well happen.
The Bears would want offensive momentum to build on its temporary showing against New Orleans because Chicago’s defense will have its hands full with one of the better offenses in the league, built off a dominant rushing attack.
Opportunity knocks on the door at random times and believe it or not this game is an opportunity for the Bears. This week stands to be a distinct looking-back moment for the Bears regardless of outcome — either it will stand as a rallying point for a playoff-bound Bears team or it could be the game that officially marks the downfall of a team that teased improvement before falling back to Earth hard.
So with all the pressure and weight of the moment on the Bears shoulders, here’s the four goals they should focus on to make things more simple on Sunday.
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Piecing it Together — Just about every injury imaginable, including a bout of Covid, has helped downgrade a Bears offensive line that wasn’t playing that great while healthy.
A silver lining presents itself in the Titans defense, which isn’t defending the pass or the run very well. Can the Bears take advantage?
Building Blocks — It’s been another horrible year of offensive football for the Bears and halfway through the season it is looking too late to pull a 180. So instead of making the effort needed for a 180, maybe they can just build off the limited success from a week ago, maybe?
Stop That Train! — The biggest and potentially most impactful match-up in this game is the Titans running back Derrick Henry going up against a leaky Bears run defense. The Bears are in for a long day regardless, but hard work doesn’t mean a hard day if they simply make the most important stops and find some way to take control of the ball.
Time Is Running Out — Remember when the Bears were 5-1? Man, those were good times a couple weeks ago. Reliving that far-off time may be tempting, but like an election, you can’t just sit on a hot start and say “that’s that.”
Time has run out on the Bears’ ideal beginning to the season. After Sunday they will be squarely in the middle of the 2020 campaign. Avoiding a three-game losing streak is of the upmost importance. Now is the time to do that, it could mean the difference from making this year’s playoffs or just missing them.
Ryan Bukowiecki covers the Chicago Bears and professional football for WARR