The Chicago Bears are 5-5, having lost four games in a row. The bye week came at the perfect time for this struggling squad. Here’s what Chicago needs to do to get back on the winning track as they finish the season. With six games left, there’s still a chance the Bears could win four or five games and get back to the NFC Playoffs. Here’s the “Dutch Lion’s” game plan for improving the Monsters of the Midway.
- Play complimentary football : Utilize the defense and special teams to improve the offense. Run the ball to rest the defense, etc. Run some clock. Give the defense a break by having them on the bench more than on the field. The Bears time of possession is 16th in the NFL according to Football Outsiders, which is right in the middle. However, Chicago ranks near the bottom in the other TOP stats such as time of possession with a lead (26th), time trailing/playing with a deficit (28th), and overall game time playing with a lead and trailing (27th and 28th respectively). Too many times Head Coach Matt Nagy says all the right things to the media in regards to running the ball more often but then in the game he forgets about all his promises. The unbalanced play calling must become more balanced. Now with Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor calling the plays, along with the probable return of starting RB David Montgomery, maybe the offense will become more balanced.
- Put the QB under center more often : It’s easier to run the ball out of the traditional sets such as I-formation, single back, and ace formations. The tailback can read the defense and the open holes in the line better when he’s running north/south rather than running east/west when he’s getting handoffs out of shotgun. Plus, it sets up the play-action passing game. Play-action football could be a spark for this offense.
- Re-install QB #10 Mitch Trubisky as starting quarterback : This became more obvious as the week moved on. From all reports, it looks like Trubisky will indeed get his starting job back, at least for this Sunday Night game at Green Bay. His mobility will certainly help while the Bears sub-par offensive line figures out a way to get better. I was happy with giving QB #9 Nick Foles getting his chance but it’s obvious he hasn’t improved the Bears offense since he replaced Trubisky starting in Week 4.
- Blitz more often! : Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano needs to install more blitz packages. Draw up some exotics, as they say. Use exotic blitzes to get your playmakers in the opposing team’s backfield. Let’s get ILB Roquan Smith to the quarterback to cause pressure, sacks, and fumbles. Or better yet, blitz with Danny Trevathan because he can’t cover in the open field anymore but Roquan definitely can. Blitz Gipson or Jackson from the safety spots. Run a corner blitz. Try all of it. Chicago’s defense was amazing in 2018 under DC Vic Fangio. From my memory, he blitzed more than Pagano has in ’19 and ’20. It’s time to do something to get more sacks and takeaways.
- Target TE #85 Cole Kmet : Rookie Kmet shows signs of being a weapon. Why doesn’t Nagy and the offense use him more often? It’s a mystery. He only has 7 catches for 86 yards and 1 TD (team high 12.3 ypc) on 11 targets. I read somewhere that Bears quarterbacks have a super high passer rating (over 120) when targeting Kmet (I can’t find the source of that stat right now so you’ll have to trust me). So use him more.
- Throw deep to WR #11 Darnell Mooney at least once per half, maybe once per quarter : Rookie receiver Darnell Mooney is the Bears fastest player. So send him long at least 2-4 times per game! Trubisky has a strong arm, at least we think he still does despite the injured throwing shoulder from his one carry against the Saints in Week 8. We need to scare the defense and open up the underneath coverages by going up top once in awhile. How hard is it to try? C’mon Bears, stop with the constant dinking and dunking.
- More Trick Plays!!! : Remember how HC Nagy used a lot of trick plays in 2018? Since then, he’s basically given up on tricks. Why? It’s a mystery. The better question is, why not? Trick plays give the team energy and excitement, especially if they work. With an offense as listless as Chicago’s, I’m shocked by the lack of trick plays over the last season and a half.
There you have it. It’s that simple. Use these ideas and you have a chance to get back to the NFC Playoffs. Get to work Coach Nagy. You better do this or else you’ll probably have a different job in 2021.
Week 12 Preview: Chicago Bears (5-5) at Green Bay Packers (7-3)
The Bears still have a chance to win the NFC North division with six games to play. That’s because they play Green Bay twice. If Chicago could find a way to win both of these games, they would be tied with the Packers and hold the tiebreaker. That’s why tonight’s game is ultra important.
According to Sports Betting Dime, Green Bay is favored by 8.5 points. Their predicted score is 15.4 to 10.1, so in essence they are picking a S/U victory by the Packers at Lambeau, but a Bears ATS victory.
Troy Aikman’s AER Ratings
Chicago Bears (5-5) : 22nd overall, 31st offense, 4th defense
Green Bay Packers (7-3) : 8th overall, 3rd offense, 21st defense
Chicago : 18th overall, 29th offense, 4th defense, 12th special teams
Green Bay : 9th overall, 2nd offense, 18th defense, 26th special teams
Prior to the bye week, we predicted a Bears victory on Monday Night Football over the Minnesota Vikings. We put our perfect 9-0 record on the line. We picked the Bears to win 17-14. Unfortunately, the Bears continued their downhill slide and we lost too. Minnesota won 19-13.
Chicago Bears (5-5)
Dutch Lion (9-1)
This week the Bears travel to Green Bay for the annual fight in Lambeau Field. It’s hard to pick Chicago right now. All the evidence points to yet another dominant night for the Packers. Green Bay averages 30.8 ppg (3rd). They allow 25.8 ppg (17th). Chicago only scores an average of 19.1 ppg (31st) but allows only 20.9 ppg (6th).
Obviously the Bears need to score some points to keep this close. However, they also have a very good defense that borders on great if they’re getting takeaways. As we pointed out above, if Pagano can get some turnovers created by Roquan Smith, Khalil Mack, Kyle Fuller, and Eddie Jackson, then the Bears have a chance.
On offense, can Mitch Trubisky play with a chip on his shoulder, as if he’s trying to prove Nagy’s mistrust was a huge mistake? Can Chicago’s offensive line protect Trubisky, as well as create a push in the running game?
Overall, the “Dutch Lion” is pumped for this game. After a week off, we’re excited here in northern Illinois to watch a refreshed Bears team go out there and cause havoc on the frozen tundra. According to Bet IQ/Team Rankings, the Bears all-time record coming off of a bye week is 23-19 (Nagy is 0-2). That’s interesting for sure but is it telling? Not sure. Can the Bears win? It’s unlikely, but the Bears are 3-2 as a road ‘dog so far this year. Can Chicago keep it closer than the 8.5 point spread? We think that’s probable. Unfortunately, we can’t pick the Bears to win. Hopefully they prove us wrong. PICK: Green Bay
Green Bay Packers 23 Chicago Bears 20