It’ll be the start of a new era on Sunday at Soldier Field. For the Chicago Bears, they will enter the modern NFL by actually having a legitimate wide receiver as they rely on the offense to carry their weight for the first time in eons. For the Indianapolis Colts, they start the Andrew Luck era, where the rookie quarterback will have to emerge from the big shadow cast by Peyton Manning, who’s plying his trade in Denver these days.
Expectations are sky high for the Chicago Bears, while the Colts just hope to get back to respectability after a 2-14 2011 season. This one has the looks of a laugher, but there are still a few things the Bears must do to ensure a victory to add to their NFL best 63 home opening wins.
It’s Better to be Good than Luck(y)
Rookie Andrew Luck has been touted as one of the best rookie quarterbacks to coming into the NFL in years. That’s some pretty high praise considering some of the talent that’s come into the league recently. Even if Luck turns into the next Peyton Manning, it’s not going to start on Sunday. The Bears need to throw the kitchen sink at him. I expect big things from Rod Marinelli’s “Rush Men” and specifically Henry Melton to bring some pressure up the middle. Also look for the Bears to try to disguise some coverages and confuse the young Colts signal caller. A few well timed DJ Moore or Major Wright blitzes could be the difference.
Cover for Urlacher
Brian Urlacher insists he’s going to play on Sunday. Considering he missed the entire month of August, he’s sure to be rusty even if the knee is good to go. I am sure the Colts will test Urlacher’s ability to drop deep into the middle of the field in coverage. Look for Luck to try to hook up with former Stanford teammate Coby Fleener to test the seams of the defense. Mixing up coverages and doing some blitzing will help cover for #54 as he rounds into shape.
Hold the Line
The Bears’ shaky offensive line will be tested early. Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney will put J’Marcus Webb and Gabe Carimi to the test. To make matters worse, we’re just learning that Gabe Carimi might still not be 100% and Chris Williams might have to come in to spell him at times. The Bears need to show some of the schemes they’ve been carefully hiding in the preseason to protect Jay Cutler. Chip with a tight end. Run some draws and screens. Roll Cutler out. These will help the line hold up.
Don’t Get Caught Looking Ahead
The Bears face their division rivals, the Green Bay Packers, on a quick turnaround to open the 2012 Thursday Night Football slate of games. The last thing the Bears want to do is get caught looking past the lowly Colts to the Packers and blow a 2-foot putt against one of the weaker teams they’ll face this year.
Don’t Forget What Got You Here
As fans, we’re all excited to see Brandon Marshall and what he and Jay Cutler could do in their reunion tour. The Bears can’t forget what got them here – run the ball and stop the run. I’d like to see a steady dose of Matt Forte and Michael Bush to keep the new look Colts defense off balance. On the other side, the Bears run defense has been lackluster in the preseason to say the least. I expect the Colts to try to run the ball to take some pressure off Luck. It’s time for the Bears to step it up and work the kinks out of the rush defense.
What do you think? What are your Keys to a Bears victory? What’s your prediction for the game? Let’s hear ya.