The 6-4 Chicago Bears take a trip to St. Louis this weekend to take on a 4-6 Rams Team in what should be a tough battle as both teams try to make a late season playoff push. This matchup is between two of the oldest franchises in the NFL and the Bears currently own the all-time record with a mark of 52-35-3. The last time these two teams met was last year when the Bears thrashed the Rams 23-6. Neither team will be at full strength this weekend as both clubs have suffered their share of injuries, including both quarterbacks. With that stuff out of the way, let’s get down to some phase by phase analysis for the game:
Offense: With both starting quarterbacks sidelined for this one, I give the edge in that department to the bears. Josh McCown has looked really good in limited action this season, while Kellen Clemons has looked mediocre at best. That having been said, McCown has his work cut out for him in this one as he goes up against a recently energized St. Louis defense that’s playing some really good football right now. Marc Trestman is going to have to call an incredible game, as I expect the Rams to put up quite a few points (as well as rushing yards) on the Bears. The offensive line will also have to bring their “A” game being tasked with keeping Josh McCown upright against a very talented St. Louis defensive line that features three former first round draft picks in Chris Long, Robert Quinn and Michael Brockers. My confidence in the Bears’ offense has done nothing but grow throughout this season and I expect them to put up respectable totals by game’s end.
Defense: This is where I see the problem for the Bears, but what else is new? Jeff fisher is a smart coach and I don’t think Chicago’s troubles defending the run will escape him. The Rams’ rushing offense is also firing on all cylinders which further complicates things. I expect a heavy dose of Zac Stacy and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rams ran it 40 times in this one. Fisher will make the Bears prove they can stop the run, which I don’t have to tell you guys, that hasn’t happened all year. With Chicago’s safeties not playing well this year, the Bears’ defense could have problems with St. Louis’ receivers as well. Tavon Austin had a breakout game two weeks ago and Chris Givens is no stranger to the deep ball either. With all that running, play-action passes will undoubtedly play a factor in this one and with all that speed at wide receiver, the Bears’ secondary will have to play mistake free.
Special Teams: In a game as close as I expect this one to be, special teams could be the deciding factor. Containing the aforementioned Austin must be the first priority. If the Bears play disciplined football and stay in their coverage lanes, he shouldn’t be a problem, but that has not always been the case this year (see: Cordarrelle Patterson). Devin Hester is always a threat and I expect at least a decent game from him, but a touchdown would be nice. I also wouldn’t mind seeing some trickery from this unit. It seems to me that the Bears’ special teams hasn’t been very special this season.
I think these teams are more evenly matched than the scoreboard will indicate, but that balance is tenuous at best and I expect one of these two teams to make the score at least a little lopsided. If the Rams can establish the run early and keep the ball away from Chicago’s offense, it’ll be a long day for Bears fans. On the other hand, if the Bears can get out to an early lead through some combination of offense, special teams and well-timed turnovers and force the Rams to abandon the run, I only see that lead growing. All in all, I think this one might be decided in the first quarter. What do you guys think? let me know in the comment section.