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

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I was curious to see how the Bears defense ranked throughout the season.  I looked at the overall D, which is ranked by total yards per game, rush D and pass D in terms of Yards/Game.  What’s interesting is that the Bears are giving up only about 10 yards per game more without Briggs than they were with him.  Here’s how their rankings look:

Just to help clarify, the lower the ranking, the better, noted by the GOOD and BAD markers.  The overall ranking and rush defense rankings certainly took a turn for the worst after the matchup with the Redskins.  What’s interesting is that while their run defense has been getting worse, their pass D ranking has been getting better.  Don’t be fooled.  All that means is that their opponents are exploiting their weak run D and not bothering to pass that much.

This is important because Briggs’ return may help the run D, it may just mean that Nick Foles and the Eagles pick on the pass defense instead.  Then again, with the top ranked rushing offense, averaging over 159 rushing yards per game, I think that Briggs or not, they’ll try to run it right up our proverbial giggy.

The run defense overall is not pretty and that could also be accounted by the losses of Henry Melton (Week 3 in Pittsburgh) and Nate Collins (Week 5 vs New Orleans).  Losing cornerback Charles Tillman, who is huge in run support and forcing turnovers, during the Week 10 loss to the Lions certainly didn’t help matters.

Be encouraged that Briggs is coming back, but be realistic as to how much he can help the defense overall.  Briggs is a big comic book guy, but he’s not a super hero.

What do you think?  Can Briggs save the Bears D?  Can they get it together and go on a run into the playoffs?  Let’s see your Comments.