If the Chicago Bears want to beat the New England Patriots on Sunday, what they need to do is obvious.
This Sunday is a huge day for the Chicago Bears. You can make the argument that this is the biggest game in the Ryan Pace era. Sure, if you want to hold it against Pace that the biggest game in his fourth year is a regular season game in October, fine, but that’s what happens when you have to rebuild the whole roster.
The Bears welcome Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to Soldier Field on Sunday. The Patriots have settled in as a three-point road favorite in Chicago, which is a fair spread, but is close enough to show that Vegas isn’t counting the Bears out in this game.
There will be plenty of speculation as to how the Bears offense and Mitch Trubisky handles Bill Belichick’s defensive schemes and on the other side, there will be speculation as to whether the Patriots’ defense, which is slow of foot and void of a lot of talent, can handle the speed of guys like Tarik Cohen and Taylor Gabriel.
While those matchups are important, the biggest key for this Chicago team is their defense matching up against Brady and the Patriots’ offense.
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Since the return of Julian Edelman and the emergence of Sony Michel, the Patriots offense looks just as lethal as it has the last few years. The Bears will have their hands full in the secondary and the linebackers are going to have to be on point.
However the biggest key for this game is going to be in the trenches. The Bears’ defensive front has to get to Brady and they have to do it without blitzing.
Tom Coughlin put together the recipe for beating the Patriots several years ago when he was the head coach of the New York Giants and got the best of Bill Belichick and the Patriots not once but twice in the Super Bowl.
It’s been proven time and time again that if you give Brady enough time, he will light you up. At the same time, if you blitz Brady, he makes the right decision and delivers the football exactly where it should be and beats you that way.
You have to pressure Brady, and you have to do it only rushing four guys. Not only do you need to rush Brady, but you need to get inside pressure and force him to rush a throw or rollout. Brady needs to stay in the pocket, if he can’t do that, you can make him far less efficient.
Obviously, the Bears are going to need Khalil Mack to do his thing and get to Brady, but Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman (and Roy Robertson-Harris, Jonathan Bullard and Bilal Nichols as well) need to make sure they are getting inside pressure on Brady.
If the Bears can get to Brady when they only rush four, they can keep him uncomfortable and keep the offense off-balance. If the Bears’ defense recovers from last week’s sloppy performance and puts together a performance closer to what we saw in the first four games, they are going to keep the Patriots offense from lighting up Chicago and give Trubisky and Matt Nagy a fighting chance on the other side of the ball.
Sunday’s matchup will tell you a lot about this Bears’ team. Are they ready to compete for a playoff spot? With a victory on Sunday over the Patriots, they will make an announcement to the entire NFL that the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”