Lance Briggs Return Will Provide Big Boost to Chicago Bears Run Defense

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Sep 15, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears outside linebacker Lance Briggs (55) reacts during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

If you read between the lines of head coach Marc Trestman’s Monday press conference, it’s a reasonable bet that Lance Briggs will be back in the lineup for the Chicago Bears defense.  It’s not a moment too soon, with the Eagles and their top ranked running attack awaiting.

Can one man single handedly turn around a defense?  If you look at what the Bears have done on defense with and without Briggs, that answer is pretty clear.  Let’s look at some of those numbers and see what a difference #55 makes for this run defense.

Briggs was injured with about 6 minutes left in the third quarter of the Bears’ 45-41 loss to the Washington Redskins.  We will look at the Bears Defense With Briggs (WB) and After Injury (AI), considering that their D was without Briggs for the Redskins game since he didn’t finish the game.

Bears Rush DWith Briggs, the Bears were giving up an average of 102 rushing yards per game.  Just to put that into perspective, the Baltimore Ravens give up 102.4 YPG and currently rank 7th in rush defense.  Since Briggs’ injury, the Bears are giving up an average of 190 yards per game.  That’s nearly DOUBLE!!!

But let’s be fair and look at this a different way because teams are different and each week presents new challenges.  I looked at the average rushing yards for each opponent coming into their matchup with the Bears and compared them to how they actually performed.  If we consider that the opponents would hit their average, we can look at the difference against the Bears to see how the run defense actually performed.  It’s not pretty. 

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