At the way the Chicago Bears defense is playing, they will be the unit that knocks them out of the playoffs
While many in the national media have still given the Chicago Bears defense respect, fans who follow the team close do know that the unit has not lived up to the name or reputation that it has. While the offense has found a groove, games against the Vikings and Lions were only close because of the defense. Of course, the Bears offense did fumble away the Lions game, but the defense has been an average unit in the past month.
This is the same defense that also saw Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers put up 40 points just a month ago. While Akiem Hicks did miss that game, there are still concerns that the Packers will do the same thing, and end the Bears playoffs hopes on Sunday.
Can the Chicago Bears get pressure?
To start with Hicks and company, his presence will impact the run game without a doubt. Every metric out there shows that Hicks changes the run defense. Green Bay ran all over the Bears in their first meeting knowing that Hicks was out.
Still, telling the Packers that they have to shift from a heavy run game to a game where they rely on Aaron Rodgers is not necessarily a win for the Bears.
One big issue is that the Chicago Bears are currently middle of the pack in pressure rate. Meanwhile, the Packers offensive line has kept clean pockets for Rodgers all season.
Hicks presence matters, but it will be Khalil Mack against Billy Turner who helps send the team into the playoffs. Turner is good but beatable, and this is a moment Mack should be dreaming about.
Aaron Rodgers will attack the weak link
However, beyond the pass rush is the secondary. Another issue when the two first played was that Aaron Rodgers would find who was in the slot and attack Buster Skrine down the field.
Skrine is dealing with a concussion and may miss the game, but Duke Shelley has not eased concerns. The Bears also have been missing Jaylon Johnson in the past two weeks and that has led to Shelley and rookie Kindle Vildor seeing the field together.
The Vikings and Jaguars were able to find breakdowns in coverage when the two are on the same side of the field. The Vikings capitalized and turned the game into a shootout, while the Jags missed open receivers. Aaron Rodgers is not going to make those mistakes.
Beyond that, while teams attack the other side more often, Kyle Fuller has allowed big plays to D.J. Chark and Quintez Cephus. Eddie Jackson has not made turnover worthy plays on the ball.
The fact that the Bears have personnel questions is concerning considering they also are likely to be out-schemed on Sunday. When the Bears and Packers first played, Aaron Rodgers would check to runs when Robert Quinn was on the field and would check to passes when Barkevious Mingo was on the field, essentially rendering the platoon useless. Rodgers also consistently caught Quinn in coverage.
This is concerning considering just last week Robert Quinn allowed a third-down reception to Tyler Eifert. After looking lost in the Packers game, it is crazy that Pagano is still even dropping him like that.
The reality is that if it happens, Rodgers will know, and he will throw right at the player he is watching.
The Bears defense is their strength. For a unit that should be a strength, it is concerning that the feeling is that Aaron Rodgers and company have a chance to move the ball up and down the field.