3. A breakthrough special teams performance
Deonte Thompson set up what should have been a game winning goal against the 49ers last year, but has done nothing of note since. His blistering speed alone won him the kickoff return job, but he has yet to breakthrough in 2016.
A major part of the Bears’ 2009 win over the Vikings was due to a stellar effort from Daniel Manning returning kickoffs. He averaged 44 yards on his three returns with a long of 59 yards. The huge returns not only served as a momentum boost, but they also set up 2 Chicago Bears touchdowns which proved to be difference in a tight contest.
While I’m specifically picking on Thompson here, Eddie Royal can certainly help matters in the punt return game as well. Any Bear fan who watched Devin Hester knows exactly how fast the course of a game can change with a good return.
To earn this key to victory, the Bears must manage a kickoff return past their own 40 yard line (not counting an onside kick should there be one). However, the Bears can also receive this key by averaging more than 10 yards per punt return.