. Hby Bryan Dietzler
The 7-7 Chicago Bears, coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday will take on the deadly Kansas City Chiefs this coming Sunday night at Soldier Field. The Chiefs, having sealed a trip to the playoffs already, come in with a record 10-4 record and are coming off of a win against the Broncos.
Having already locked up the AFC West, one would think that the Chiefs may go ahead and rest their starters but there is still some playoff positioning to be gained so the Chiefs will want to win this game. This means that their starters are going to play.
With that, it’s going to be tough for the Bears to win this game but it’s not impossible.
But will the Bears be inspired to play well despite the fact they have nothing to play for? It all depends on the coaching staff and how motivated they have their team on Sunday.
The following is a look at the Bears versus the Chiefs game from the perspective of the numbers that represent what both teams have done over the course of the season. There will be insight into both their offense and defense as well as a look at the injury report. There is a score prediction as well.
Can the Bears beat the Chiefs? Let’s find out.
Bears on Offense
Chicago’s offense wasn’t that effective against the Green Bay Packers this past Sunday after having done some great things against the Cowboys the week before. The Bears offense, in a word, stinks. They have struggled to put up points all year and have been relatively ineffective. Now, as they head into an unsure offseason, they prepare to look in the mirror and try to figure out what to do on offense.
The Bears aren’t strong on offense, by any means, and their numbers show it. When it comes to total points scored, the Bears are averaging just 18.3 points per game which is 26th in the league. They have been playing a little bit better and scoring a few more points but this average is not going to cut it. The Bears need to score more points, especially against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chief’s scoring defense is allowing just 20.3 points per game which is 11th in the league. It would appear that the Bears will have their work cut out for them trying to score on this defense and the Bears have struggled, all season, trying to score. Can it be a different story with the Chiefs?
The Bears are ranked 28th in total yards averaging just 298.4 yards per game on offense. The Chiefs are giving up a bit more than that, averaging 356.7 yards per game which is ranked 18th in the league. The Bears have been doing a little bit better, lately, with their numbers but still struggle to move the ball especially when it’s most important.
Chicago has picked up its passing game a little bit over the last few games but is still ranked close to the bottom in passing yards. The Bears are 25th in the league in passing yards averaging 212.8 yards per game through the air. Mitchell Trubisky, the Bears’ quarterback, has picked up his play a bit but is still struggling to play consistently and make the important throws. Granted, he hasn’t gotten much help from the play-calling or some members of his offense (including the offensive line) but Trubisky needs to get better.
These last two games will go a long way towards telling us just how far he has come. The Bears may base what they do in the off-season on how Trubisky performs in these final few games and decide what they want to do for their future.
These last two games will be very important for the Bears.
When it comes to defending against the pass, the Chiefs are the 11th ranked team in the league allowing 225.1 passing yards per game.
The rushing game has traditionally been Chicago’s bread and butter but this season it has not been. They are averaging a lowly 85.6 yards per game which makes them 29th in the NFL. The Bears have not been able to find anything on the ground this year. They have the horses to get the ball moving on the ground but are either not running the ball effectively or not running it enough.
There might be some medicine coming for the Bears anemic rushing game, however. The Chiefs’ defense is not doing that well against the run and has been allowing 131.6 yards per game which means that they are ranked a lowly 26th in the league. The Bears need to run early and run often in order to find some success in this game. Look for them to get the run established early if head coach Matt Nagy is willing to call plays that feature the run.
Bears on Defense
Chicago’s defense has bent but not broken that often this year. However, when they do break, they break at critical times. They have clearly digressed this season but are still playing some great football. This is a unit with a lot of great players on it and a good scheme that seems to work well, for the most part, but they have fallen short.
The Bears scoring defense is allowing teams to score just 18.1 points per game which is third in the league. That’s solid scoring defense. The Chiefs do have a powerful offense, led by Patrick Mahomes and they are 4th in the league getting 28.1 points per game. This is going to be a tough test for the defense. However, they have managed to do well against some of the NFL’s better offenses (see Dallas) so Chicago might be able to hold them back a bit.
Total yards is another strong area for the Bears this year. They are ranked 8th in the NFL allowing 324 yards per game on average. The Chiefs offense is ranked 5th in yards averaging 384.4 yards per game. The Bears are going to have to play a great game on defense in order to stop the Chiefs’ powerful offense. Getting pass pressure will help but that’s something they have struggled with this season.
Can they get their pass rush going in this game?
Keeping up with the passing game, the Chiefs have one of the best quarterbacks in the league with Mahomes. They are averaging 291.4 yards per game which is 3rd in the NFL right now. The Bears defense is a little bit weaker, mainly thanks to the lack of a pass rush. They are allowing 227.4 yards per game which is 13th in the league. Not bad but not as good as it could be.
In order to stop Mahomes, Chicago is going to need to get pressure on him, force him to stay in the pocket and bring him down.
Can they do that?
Finally, the Chiefs, ironically along with the Bears are one of the worst teams rushing the football. But the Bears sport a strong defense against the run. Kansas City is ranked 25th in the league rushing the football averaging 92.9 yards per game. The Bears defense is 6th in the league allowing just 96.6 yards per game.
Chicago should be able to stuff the run and force the Chiefs to be one dimensional. Problem is, that one dimension is a good one and will cause problems for the Bears.
The following players have been reported as injured heading into Sunday’s game:
Taylor Gabriel-WR-Concussion-Has not practiced.
Bobby Massie-OT-Ankle-He has not practiced.
Bilal Nichols-Knee-Limited in practice.
Kansas City Chiefs
Andrew Wylie-Illness/Shoulder/Ankle-Did not practice.
Morris Claiborne-CB-Shoulder-Was limited in practice.
Rashad Fenton-CB-Hamstring-Was limited in practice.
Damien Williams-RB-Ribs-He was limited in practice.
Tyreek Hill-WR-Shoulder-Practiced in full.
Dustin Colquitt-P-Knee-Practiced in Full.
Kendall Fuller-CB-Thumb-He practiced in full.
Patrick Mahomes-QB-Right Hand-Practiced in full.
Derrick Nnadi-DT-Elbow-Practiced in full.
The Bears are just playing out the rest of the season to see what they have going into next year. I think that they will play hard in this game. However, Chiefs, as long as they play their starters, maybe just too much for the Bears. I would look for this to be a hard-fought and close game. The Bears losing by just a few points to a team bound for the playoffs and possibly the Super bowl.