Can Mitch Trubisky be a difference-maker in wild-card round?

Chicago Bears (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Could Mitch Trubisky be the Chicago Bears difference-maker vs the Saints?

Despite the ugly 35-16 loss to the Green Bay Packers in the 2020 NFL regular-season finale, the Chicago Bears and Mitch Trubisky still managed to sneak into the postseason (thank you Los Angles Rams). As a result, the Bears are set to travel to the Big Easy to face the No. 2 seeded New Orleans Saints in the wild-card round.

Being on the bottom of the totem pole on the NFC side of the postseason, Chicago was bound to have a tough opponent in the first round, and figuring out a way to overcome this obstacle won’t be a walk in the park.

The Bears have already faced New Orleans earlier this year. In Week 8, the Saints left Soldier Field with a 26-23 overtime victory over Chicago. Although this particular contest was a close one, things will be a bit different the second time around. The starting quarterback for the Bears in the earlier meeting was Nick Foles. This coming Sunday, Mitch Trubisky will be at the helm.

Since Mitch Trubisky’s return to the starting lineup, the Bears’ offense has looked better than it has all season long. The threat of the North Carolina product using his legs to beat the opposing pass rush, and helping the ground attack, gives Chicago a much-needed dimension on offense. This is what can potentially be the difference-maker in this game for the Bears.

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Everyone knows that Foles isn’t a mobile quarterback, and it showed in Week 8 against New Orleans. The Saints sacked Foles five times in that contest. With Mitch Trubisky now in the lineup, those number of sacks might not be as high. In addition, Chicago’s offensive line has seemed to have gelled since, and there has been more of a commitment to the ground attack with running back David Montgomery.

The combination of the running game and Trubisky’s mobility could help the Bears win the time-of-possession battle. This will keep Saints quarterback Drew Brees off the field, and will decrease the chances of New Orleans unleashing their dynamic offensive weapons.

In the last meeting, Saints running back Alvin Kamara had 163 total yards from scrimmage. Unfortunately, Kamara was sidelined in Week 17 due to a positive test for COVID-19. Assuming that he clears the league’s COVID-19 protocol, Kamara should be on the field this Sunday.

Regardless of whether Kamara suits up, Chicago will also have to worry about the return of Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle). The three-time Pro Bowler didn’t play against the Bears in Week 8 but did snag nine receptions for 131 yards in 2019 against Chicago.

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The use of the running game, and more importantly Trubisky’s decision-making, will be key to Chicago upsetting the Saints. Trubisky is arguably the x-factor in this matchup, and he can be a positive difference-maker for the Bears if he is used correctly.