Chicago might have been playing with a career backup quarterback, but their fans are more worried that a flaw in their mighty defense might have been exposed right before a meeting with the prolific offense of the Los Angeles Rams.
Khalil Mack managed some tackles and a sack but was quiet for the majority of last week’s 30-27 upset loss against the New York Giants. After the game, Eli Manning told reporters that they “just had to keep Mack busy” to move the ball against the rest of the Bears’ defense.
If that sounds familiar, it is the same strategy utilized by the New Orleans Saints against Aaron Donald when they handed the Rams their only loss earlier this season. Other teams mimicked that plan, only to fall some points short against the Rams offensive juggernaut.
Mitchell Trubisky is expected back this week for the Bears, but even with their young gunslinger at the helm, Chicago will be hard-pressed to keep up in a shootout against Jared Goff and company.
Los Angeles also added a couple of new pieces since their loss to the Saints. Dante Fowler is coming into his own on the edge for the Rams since coming over from the Jaguars. Plus, Aqib Talib returned to the Rams’ backfield, which should make quarterbacks think for an extra second before throwing downfield.
Chicago is fending off the 6-5-1 Vikings for the division title, while the Rams are playing to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Injuries and notes:
Trubisky was rested for an extra game against the Giants but was always expected to return against the Bears. However, the team still lists him as questionable and limited in practice.
Malcolm Brown is listed as questionable for the Rams.
Rookie head coach, Matt Nagy, was not pleased after last week’s loss, telling reporters that “everybody” has to play better. It will be a tall order to grab a bounce-back win, or any kind of win, against the best team in the NFC. But win or lose, Nagy has the Bears in a position few expected this season.
Sean McVay is watching his defense come around, holding the Lions to 16 points in Detroit in their first game back from their bye. Ironically, their best defensive game may have been the one they gave up 51 points in before the bye. Turnovers and sacks are mounting just in time to make a Super Bowl run.
How to watch the Bears-Rams game
NBC Sports will produce and distribute this game, which means you can watch the live stream feed from Fubo TV.
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Who will win the Bears-Rams game?
Mitch Trubisky might need another six-touchdown game to keep up with the Rams in this one. Or… he might not. Bears fans hope their defense can be the first to slow the Los Angeles attack.
Keeping the Rams off the field would help. The Bears’ hopes might ride on kick-starting their running game. All of that is possible, but it still won’t be enough against Sean McVay’s team.