Why the Bears Will Win
- Soldier Field. The Bears are simply a different team at home (5-1), where they’d be undefeated if not for a special teams meltdown against the Patriots. Sunday night this high-flying Rams offense is going to experience 20 degrees on the lake. It won’t bother the Bears. It won’t bother their crowd. Will it bother Los Angeles? I have images of the 2005 Atlanta Falcons and 2013 Dallas Cowboys in my head. High-powered, warm weather offenses that boarded their buses to the airport midway through the third quarter.
- Mitch’s Return. Trubisky’s ability to stretch the field with his arm and extend drives with his legs was sorely missed during the Chase Daniel period. And this is a defense that can:
- Be exploited at the back end, with Marcus Peters having a nightmare season and Aquib Talib slowly working his way back from injury.
- Leave huge gaps if they don’t get home to the quarterback. Russell Wilson put up nearly 100 yards on the ground in his last meeting with the Rams.
- Jared Goff vs. Bears Secondary. One thing that stands out watching is Rams tape is the alarming number of wide open receivers Goff has over the course of a game. (The Chiefs game was an embarrassment.) But Goff was challenged last week in Detroit and probably delivered his most inconsistent/inaccurate performance of the 2018 season. Aside from a few breakdowns at the Meadowlands last week, this Bears secondary usually forces opposing QBs to hit 4-5 good throws to mount a scoring drive. In these conditions, with this pass rush bearing down, that will be a challenge for Goff.
Tweet of the Week
Mitch Trubisky practiced in FULL today.
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) December 5, 2018
Why They Won’t.
- Aaron Donald. James Daniels and Cody Whitehair have never seen anything like Donald in current form. I’m not quite sure many guards/centers have, as the man is coasting to the Defensive Player of the Year prize. Donald may not dominate for sixty minutes but he’s sure to make a big play (or three) at critical moments of the game, especially if he decides to line up over the struggling Bryan Witzmann.
- Run Defense. The Giants may have laid something of a blueprint for attacking Vic Fangio’s aggressive pass rush. (Eli Manning hinted at such during his weekly radio spot on WFAN New York.) Run right at it. Yes, it helps to have a back of Saquan Barkley’s quality but the Rams have that in Todd Gurley. So Fangio should expect McVay to follow the Shurmur template and run Gurley directly at Khalil Mack for much of the evening. If Gurley gets going, the Rams will be unstoppable.
- Shootout. If this game gets moving in a particular direction, are the Bears really prepared to go toe-to-toe with a high-powered offense? Are they prepared to score 40 if they NEED 40 to win? They have the scheme. They have the talent. They’re more equipped than any time in history to engage such a battle but they’ve never actually done it. The Rams are seasoned as playing such games. They play them every other week because they don’t defend well.
Tweet of the Week #2
He is so dead on!! Mike leach on playoffs pic.twitter.com/dHOBGWFb6E
— David Schuman (@nucfootball) December 3, 2018
Here’s how to do a college football playoff:
- Eight (8) teams.
- You have five (5) power conferences. Tell each of those five conferences to pick a champion.
- One (1) at-large bid MUST come from a non-power five. No matter what. You have to include the underdog in this process. Isn’t this the overwhelming message of the NCAA Tournament?
- Two (2) at-large bids from the rest of college football. Sorry, Notre Dame, but this is your only way in. Join a conference.
- Rank them 1-8 and the top four host the quarterfinal games on the current weekend of the conference title games. Or, and here’s an idea, stop giving Army v. Navy the entire weekend to itself. Why is that necessary? Army v. Navy should not have any other game programmed at the same time but does it really require the rest of the day free as well? Seems antiquated to me. You could have a quarterfinal on Friday night, two on Saturday, one on Tuesday night. What does it matter? They don’t play again for a month.
- Semi-final and final continue as currently constructed.
This is the boldest game prediction I’ve ever made. Bears are home. They stop run. They win easy. And after Minnesota’s loss to Seattle Monday night, the Bears will have a chance to clinch the division against Green Bay next Sunday.
Chicago Bears 31
Los Angeles Rams 20