In a season of anomalies and happenstance, it’s hard to believe in trends, but the Chicago Bears defense is starting to be a concern. While, we all know that they can change games with turnovers and big plays, those have been few and far between recently. Take away the five turnovers they had against the Minnesota Vikings two weeks ago, and they only have four turnovers since Week 12. They are also giving up 23.2 points, 368.2 yards and 21.4 first downs per game to opposing offenses. This is not the Bears defense that we are used to.
Now, these numbers are a little skewed because the Bears offense has actually been showing up, so the defense has be scheming differently. I liken it to the New England Patriots, who statistically have one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Since their offense is so good, the defense doesn’t need to completely shut down their opponents, they just need to contain them. However, this worries me with the Bears because you know at any moment, unlike the Patriots, the Bears offense can shut down and stop producing. They only average 22.0 points per game at home and they may have to face the New Orleans Saints (26.9 PPG on the road) or Philadelphia Eagles (32.8 PPG on the road) in the playoffs. That could spell disaster at Soldier Field where the Bears defense loses their speed advantage on the slippery grass.
But, I guess it’s only fitting that since the defense carried the team the first half of the year while the offense was adjusting, that now it’s the offense’s turn. You know that Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs will never be the reason that the Bears lose a game and especially come playoff time, will do everything they can to help. Luckily, Jay Cutler seems to be getting the offense moving in the right direction and the offensive line is slowly turning into one of the team’s strengths (only five sacks given up in the last three games).
My biggest concern on defense is the Bears secondary. Rookie S Major Wright has shown that he can be a big hitter. but you can tell he is still adjusting to the speed of the NFL after missing five games early in the year. I think he has potential to be solid with a mentor like S Chris Harris. CB Tim Jennings absolutely drives me nuts. He’s been beaten too many times this year and missed some key tackles, but continues to get starts over the spunky CB D.J. Moore. It really blows my mind sometimes how often he is out there after making multiple bonehead plays. He could cost the Bears a playoff game, single-handedly.
All and all, I trust the defense more than the offense but both have been exposed in their share of games. Let’s hope that the Bears keep their momentum moving forward against the Packers this week, because that will be key for a team that has thrived on it all season. The defense needs to step it up when it counts and the offense needs to continue their recent productive play. But, if it all breaks down, at least we have a consistently good special teams and the best 4th phase in the NFL, the fans. I like our depth and our chances.
And that’s what’s Drivin’ Deez Nuts this week.