Week 16: NFC North Champions at 49ers Game Preview

| December 20th, 2018

“So whoop-de-do and hickory dock
And don’t forget to hang up your sock.”

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears…

…and what’s not to like about this 2018 vintage? Seriously. They’re not just good. They are an extremely likable group of fellas.

Five Generic Thoughts on the Game

  • Does the result matter for the Bears Sunday? Probably not. But the performances of Deon Bush, filling in for Eddie Jackson, and the rotational third edge rushers (Isaiah Irving, Kylie Fitts…etc.) are pivotal. Matt Nagy seemed optimistic when evaluating the injuries of Jackson and Aaron Lynch but neither looked good. If the Bears have to play a postseason game without one or both, they’ll need these depth pieces to step up and play well.
  • If you listened to Tuesday’s Hoge & Jahns podcast – and you’re stupid if you don’t listen to every one of their pods – you heard an interesting discussion on how Nagy will handle these games. My guess? Nagy is done putting anything on tape that will help a postseason opponent. No creative looks. No gadget plays. No defensive linemen in the offensive backfield. Sunday should have a preseason feel to it: one-on-one match-ups the Bears will be expected to win because they’re the better, deeper roster by a wide margin.
  • Quarterback rating is a flawed statistic but it’s the best stat the NFL has to quantify performance at the position. Mitch Trubisky is ten points worse (97.2 to 87.6) on the road than he is at home, primarily because his TD-to-INT is drastically better at Soldier Field. If the Bears expect to make a deep run in January, Trubisky is most likely going to need a great game in either Los Angeles or New Orleans. He could use a confidence builder on Sunday afternoon.
  • The Niners aren’t going to beat the Bears on the outside but tight end George Kittle has been one of the league’s revelations in 2018. Teams have tried to cover him with corners, with linebackers, with safeties. But the Pro Bowler has made plays every single week. Kittle vs. Roquan Smith could be the best match-up of the week but the Bears will likely rotate their defenders to him, including Leonard Floyd.
  • San Francisco does not sport a particularly good pass rush, rarely intercept the ball (2 all year) and all allow opposing quarterbacks to play to a 103.1 rating – better than only Detroit and Tampa Bay. Detroit and Tampa Bay were Mitch Trubisky’s most prolific statistical outputs. This is a good match-up for the Bears QB.

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Data Responds: Lions at Bears

| November 19th, 2017

Chicago’s offense had their best game of the year, but their defense played possibly their worst game of the year. All in all, that evened out, but the Bears ended up falling to 3-7 because their kicker is terrible.


  • Now that’s more like it. The offense was finally run like an NFL offense, mixing things up and keeping the defense off its feet, and unsurprisingly it led to good things happening. Chicago stayed run-heavy in the game, but mixed up how they were running instead of making it so predictable, and thus the run game really took off. As a result, the offense scored more than 17 points in regulation for the 1st time all year.
  • This also helped the passing game open up a bit as well, since the Bears didn’t routinely end up in 3rd and long. This was a nice change from how their offense has functioned most of the year.
  • Another nice wrinkle we saw on offense was a number of read-option looks for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. He kept it several times (though there was at least one more where he should have) and made Detroit’s defense pay for crashing down on the running backs.
  • After ignoring Tarik Cohen on offense for several weeks, the Bears made a point of getting him involved early and often. He had 8 carries and 3 pass targets in the 1st half alone after getting 8 total touches in the previous 3 games.
  • Another nice wrinkle was lining Jordan Howard up as a fullback, with Tarik Cohen at tailback. This set Howard up with a few nice runs as he could spring through the line quickly and the linebackers had to worry about Cohen.

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