Chicago Bears Film Shows Need For Big Plays And Luck In Soldier Field Sunday
Injury Woes Impact Both Teams
The NFC North has caught the injury bug. Chicago and Detroit might be the most injury infested rosters in not only the North, but also in the NFL.
Detroit’s injuries have mostly been allocated to the defense, where stars Ziggy Ansah and Deandre Levy are out. The injury bug does not stop there, as linebacker Josh Bynes is still on the Injured Reserve and rookie linebacker Antwione Williams is listed as questionable.
The Bears have quarterback Cutler listed as doubtful for the game this Sunday, along with running backs Carey and Langford, middle linebacker Danny Trevathan, and nose tackle Eddie Goldman. Star outside linebacker Pernell McPhee is still on the PUP list and will not be available versus Detroit.
Bears Offense Rely on Big Play Opportunities
The biggest matchup of this game is going to be the Bears WR corps against Detroit’s secondary. The Bears offensive line has had a hard time stopping pressure coming off the edge against defenses this season. Both tackle positions have a severe weaknesses for the Bears offense causing broken plays and a stagnant run game.
This has forced the Bears to rely on quick pass and inside runs to get their offense started. Early in games, the Bears have looked to wide receiver Eddie Royal to utilize his “yard after catch” ability in the screen. This play-calling is designed to open up their offense for bigger plays down the road. With successive quick pass plays, it forces the defense to bring less pressure and move linebackers out of the box.
Now the Bears offense is set up to run the ball with a favorable box and allows the passing game to open up for wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. With less pressure being brought by the defense, the Bears get more time to throw and begin attacking the intermediate and deep passing game. This is where Alshon Jeffery thrives. There are very few defensive backs in the NFL that can win a contested deep ball versus Jeffery.
The good news for Detroit is they have one of these defensive backs in Darius Slay. Although Slay has had an uneven performance so far this season, look for him to follow Alshon around to stop these big plays from being completed on Sunday.
Alshon Jeffery versus Darius Slay will be the matchup to watch this Sunday
Bears Defense Will Try to Create Pressure
The Bears have had a very poor defensive showing thus far. Outside of safety Adrian Amos, the Bears have had almost no consistent play from their secondary. The interior of this defense is the worst unit on this team. Middle line backer Danny Trevathan was brought in to shore up the middle for the Bears. However, Trevathan has yet to make an impact in Chicago and is unlikely to make an appearance versus Detroit. The interior defensive line has been abysmal, and without Trevathan the interior linebacker play looks to be mediocre at best for Chicago.
This sets up the only position of strength on this Bears defense, to be relied upon heavily in this game: the outside linebackers.
This is a group that includes Sam Acho, top 10 pick Leonard Floyd, and former Lion Willie Young. This outside linebacking corps has been the only consistently good part of this Bears defense through week three.
Detroit tackles Riley Rieff and rookie Taylor Decker will look to stop this group from making any plays. The Lions offensive line has seen dominating performances by Rieff and impressive plays for a rookie by Decker this season.
With injuries stacking up, the Bears will have to continue to lean on their outside linebackers to create pressure and cause havoc, to have any shot at slowing down the 5th best scoring offense in the Detroit Lions.
Keys to a Detroit Victory
The Lions matchup very well against the Bears. The Bears have been shown to have many more weakness than they do strengths this season. The place where the Bears are strongest is in deep ball situations with Alshon Jeffery and establishing defensive pressure, setting an edge with their outside linebackers.
The Lions have one of the most athletically gifted cornerbacks in Darius Slay to contain Jeffery and have had great play from their tackles to combat the impressive edge rush from Chicago.
This sets the Lions up to have a great game against a poor Bears team without Cutler because where the Bears have been bad, the Lions have succeeded.
With a weak interior defense, look for the Lions to run behind all-pro right guard Larry Warford to establish the running game early. The Lions have been averaging well over 4 yards per carry this season. Expect this running success to continue against this weak Chicago unit. Forcing an already bad secondary to play up in the box and create big play opportunities for wide receiver Marvin Jones and tight end Eric Ebron. Look for the Lions offense to build off their hot start and attack this Bears defense to put up a lot of points.
This Lions offense has been averaging 27 points per game. Expect this offense to take advantage of one of the worst and most injured defenses in the league establishing an early lead. The Lions will not be able to stop Alshon Jeffery completely but expect the Lions to use Darius Slay and safety Glover Quin to limit Jeffery’s impact. The Lions defense will give up some plays they should not, however with Cutler and their top two running backs out expect the Bears offense to be stagnant much of this game.
As long as Detroit limits their turnover count and penalty yards are kept low, the Lions should walk away from Soldier Field with a victory.