2. Keep the offense on schedule
The Chicago Bears face difficult odds once again with this key. Jordan Howard is coming off of his worst career performance, and the Packers boast the second best rushing defense in the NFL. Last week I said that Howard needed to average at least 4.5 yards and go for 100 yards. While a 100 yard rushing day would be nice, Howard only needs to make positive plays this week. That means three yards here or four yards there, but avoiding negative plays and stalemates are an absolute must.
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Of course staying on schedule doesn’t just include the running game, but the Packers will undoubtedly be ready for Brian Hoyer’s dink and dunk offense. The Bears should not only expect the box to be loaded to stop Howard, but also to drop defenders into the flat and curl windows. How does one clear out the box you ask? Take some shots down the field! Yes, Brian Hoyer wasn’t able to even put any deep balls in the field of play last week, but the Bears are in desperate need for big plays.
This is also the one matchup where the Bears have an edge over Green Bay. The Packers will be without their top three cornerbacks while the Bears have Cameron Meredith and Alshon Jeffery didn’t even appear on the injury report. Yes, Alshon Jeffery didn’t make a single appearance on the injury report this week, go get your lottery ticket immediately.
However, the problem with deep throws is that it’s gambling away a down. If it works, it’s a 20+ yard gain. If it doesn’t, the offense faces a 3 and long. Executing on early downs will allow the Chicago Bears to take more deep shots. For the Chicago Bears to win this key, they need 50% of their 3rd downs to be from 6 yards or less.