By Bryan Dietzler
The following is a mix of Week Thirteen notes and observations and a preview of the Chicago Bears versus the Cincinnati Bengals game this Sunday. We will look at some numbers and see who is on the injury report for both teams.
Here are some news and notes from the 49ers game.
Kyle Fuller had a big game coming up with his first interception of the year as well as breaking up a few passes to keep the ball out of the hands of the 49ers receivers. One other important thing that Fuller brings to the defense is his ability to hit hard. He is consistently hitting opponents with force and maybe the hardest hitting player on the team. But he’s too inconsistent. He’s up one game and down another and isn’t a very well adept at getting turnovers.
The biggest question with him is, will the Bears bring him back next year or will they let him move on? Remember that they didn’t pick up his fifth-year option (from his rookie contract) so he will be a free agent. With a solid finish to the season the Bears may consider bringing him back.
Consider his status up in the air for now.
The Bears had a few injuries during the game. Outside linebacker Pernell McPhee spent most of the game on the sidelines with a shoulder injury. It’s frustrating seeing him hurt because he has been hurt so often. Plus, the Bears could use his pass rush ability right now. Kyle Long left with a shoulder injury. Long has been suffering a lot lately and now the Bears’ have put him on injured reserve. They added Mitch Unrein to the injured reserve list as well.
Danny Trevathan appeared to get hurt again. Not much has been said about the injury so perhaps we will learn more as the week goes on. Finally, one more player who was hurt either during the game or before it was kicker Cairos Santos. Santos kicked only the Bears’ two extra points on Sunday and did not kick on kickoffs. Ironically, he was placed on injured reserve the next day and Mike Nugent was signed.
To fill the roster spots left open by sending Long and Unrein to IR, the Bears called up offensive lineman Cameron Lee and linebacker Howard Jones. To fill those two player’s spots on the practice squad, the Bears signed offensive lineman Will Pericak and tight end Colin Thompson.
Chicago versus Cincinnati Game Preview
The Cincinnati Bengals come into this game with a record of 5-7 and have had a tumultuous year. They let their offensive coordinator go early on and haven’t been terrible despite their record. Cincinnati almost beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night and have played several close contests this season.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the numbers behind this game looking at the offense and defense for each team. We will see where they rank and how they compare against one another.
Chicago’s Offense versus Cincinnati’s Defense
The Bears passing offense, manned by Mitchell Trubisky, is ranked a lowly 32nd in the league averaging just 160.2 yards per game. The coaching staff has not allowed Trubisky to break out and throw the ball down the field more. Perhaps the coaching staff is nervous about doing damage to Trubisky’s psyche? Maybe they lack confidence in the rookie and/or his wide receivers?
This team has nothing to lose and needs to see what Trubisky can do. Let’s hope they open the passing game up against the Bengals and not only give Trubisky some experience but try to win the game.
When it comes to passing defense, the Bengals are allowing teams to gain an average of 210.3 yards per game which is good for 8th in the NFL. That’s a strong pass defense. Chicago may not be able to find much success against that defense, but they must try. They can’t just assume nothing is going to work. But trying has been difficult for the Bears in recent weeks and unless they change and open their offense up, their passing game won’t do anything against the Bengals.
They must try to move the ball through the air on Sunday.
The Chicago Bears mantra has typically been that their offense has a strong rushing attack. This was true up until the Philadelphia Eagles game. Since then, they haven’t been able to run the football. Even against the 49ers last week the Bears’ rushing attack was weak. Right now, they are ranked 13th in the NFL earning 115.5 yards per game.
There are dropping in the rankings because they cannot get anything going on the ground.
Cincinnati’s defense is allowing teams to gain an average of 123.8 yards per game which has them ranked 28th in the NFL. The Bears can run the ball on their defense and they will have some success. The problem is, injuries and struggles on the offensive line may not allow them to do that. With Kyle Long on injured reserve and the offensive line struggling, running the ball may be hard Sunday.
Chicago must open their passing game up on Sunday and get Trubisky the experience he needs to be successful. They must find a way to run the ball and keep the Bengals’ offense off the field. If they can’t do those two things they will have no chance to win this game.
Let’s hope that the Bears can do something on offense to at least be competitive or possibly even win the game.
Chicago’s Defense versus Cincinnati’s Offense
The Bears’ defense has been on a bit of a decline over the last few games. Something isn’t right any longer, as they are getting beat too easily through the air. They had been keeping teams from beating them that way most part but against the Eagles and the 49ers, the Bears have struggled with opponents passing games. With the Bengals, there isn’t much happening on their offense so if the Bears can step it up on defense, they will be able to stop the Bengals and make the game evener.
Right now, Cincinnati’s offense is averaging 200.7 passing yards per game which is good for 26th in the NFL. The Bears’ defense is allowing 221 yards per game which is 12th in the league so the Bears can stop the pass. They just need to do it consistently. If they can get a pass rush going, which may be difficult, they can keep quarterback Andy Dalton on edge and force him to make mistakes.
Where the Bears might have some trouble is in coverage. The Bengals have A.J. Green and the lightning-quick John Ross at wide receiver. The secondary is going to have their work cut out for them. They need to blanket these guys to keep them from getting big gains down the field or breaking away for a long touchdown run. Does Chicago have the players that can keep up with these guys? Will they have success against Cincinnati’s receiving corps?
Should the Bears be able to shut down their passing game, the Bengals may not be able to turn to their running game for help. The Bengal’s rushing attack is anemic averaging just 80.2 yards. That makes them 30th in the NFL. Chicago’s rushing defense is holding teams to 112.2 yards on the ground which has them at 16th in the NFL. The Bengals may find some room to run and the Bears need to shut things down but Joe Mixon is out and the Bengals will rely on less than adequate running backs.
Chicago may have an advantage here.
What may hurt the Bears defense in this game is injuries. As we will soon find out, the Bears are banged up at several positions and will have some starters out. Will the Bears play well and win despite the fact some of their top talent will be sidelined?
Let’s find out who the Bears will and won’t have available as we look at this week’s injury report.
Chicago’s injury report is not looking good. By all accounts, there could be three starters on defense out for this game and that doesn’t bode well for the Bears. Let’s see who’s out and how it might impact Sunday’s game.
Eddie Goldman-NT-Goldman had been playing extremely well up until he started suffering hip problems. Now, he is doubtful for Sunday and his absence will leave a big hole in the middle of the defense. Will John Jenkins be able to pick up the slack? Note that the Bears also brought up Rashaad Coward (and waived Jonathan Anderson) to help.
Adrian Amos-S-Amos appears poised to miss his second straight game with a hamstring injury. The Bears are getting a little healthier at safety but the talent they have available doesn’t compare to what Amos can provide. We saw last week how injuries could affect the safety position and it looks like the problems could happen again this week.
Deon Bush-S-Bush will be available this weekend after practicing in full all week. He previously had an ankle injury.
Pernell McPhee-OLB-McPhee suffered a shoulder injury in the Bears’ game against the 49ers last week and didn’t play most of the game. With McPhee out and Leonard Floyd on injured reserve, it looks like the Bears pass rush will need to rely on what it can get from the defensive line. Hopefully, Vic Fangio has something up his sleeve to help get some pressure on Andy Dalton from the players he has left.
Bryce Callahan-CB-Callahan missed some time with a knee injury but appears poised to return this Sunday.
DeAndre Houston-Carson-S-An ankle injury limited Houston-Carson this week and he is questionable. The Bears have some depth at the safety position with Bush coming back but could use Houston-Carson on special teams.
Joshua Bellamy-WR-Bellamy had an illness this week and didn’t practice on Thursday. However, he practiced in full on Friday. Bellamy will be a go on Sunday.
Here are the players the Bengals list on their injury report this week.
Vontaze Burfict-LB-The starter will be out with a concussion for this game.
Geno Atkins-DT-The starter is questionable and did not practice at the end of this week with a toe injury.
John Ross-WR-Ross didn’t practice two days this week because of a shoulder injury but practiced on Friday. Should he miss some action, the Bears defense might have an easier time defending the Bengal’s passing attack.
Darqueze Dennard-CB-Dennard didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday and was limited on Friday with a knee injury. He will be questionable for Sunday.
Dre Kirkpatrick-CB-Kirkpatrick will be out Sunday recovering from a concussion.
Joe Mixon-RB-An important part of the Bengals’ rushing attack, Mixon will not play because of a concussion. This bodes well for the Bears as he helps to make the Bengal’s rushing offense better. Hopefully, Chicago will do well against the run because of this.
Adam Jones-CB-The starter will be out with a groin injury on Sunday.
Vincent Rey-LB-Rey was limited in practice all week with a hamstring injury and is questionable for Sunday.
Nick Vigil-LB-Vigil will be out with an ankle injury this Sunday.
Brandon Williams-S-Williams will be out with an ankle injury on Sunday.
Shawn Williams-S-He will be out with a hamstring injury this Sunday.
Follow me on Twitter @bdietzler.
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