If you are expecting the Chicago Bears to turn things around this Sunday against the Denver Broncos, I would hold the excitement. I know that Denver just allowed the Miami Dolphins to score 70 points, even after many of their starters left the game. However, there is one glaring stat that is separating the Broncos and the Bears — it is not in the Bears' favor.
The stat in question is EPA per play.
If you are unfamiliar with this stat, it is the offensive expected points added per play. This means that data analysts break down plays and determine a metric that measures how much each play is expected to contribute to the team's point total. As Josh Wilson of FanSided points out, the further a team gets downfield, the higher your EPA. First downs will add to your EPA. However, a sack for a loss of yards would lower your EPA. Josh Wilson obtained these stats from RBSDM. You can find many insights on great stats like EPA on the FanSided Statistics page.
Before we get to how bad the Chicago Bears are, let's appreciate what we are seeing down near South Beach. The Miami Dolphins EPA per play is 0.392. The second-best team in the NFL at this is the San Francisco 49ers at 0.161. Wow. That's literally more than double!
Now for the sad part. The Chicago Bears are second to last in EPA per play at -0.214. Not good. Only the New York Jets are worse at -0.261. I guess that is one thing we can hang our hat on without any argument among the highly divided Bears' fanbase — Justin Fields is indeed better than Zach Wilson.
If we look at the full picture of the NFL, only 12 teams have a positive EPA per play. The Denver Broncos are not one of them, but they are about as close as you can get at -0.015. This tells me, along with the fact that the Broncos are also scoring 23 points per game, that the chances of the Chicago Bears winning on Sunday are slimmer than many fans might think. For how bad the Broncos' defense is, the Bears are not much better. However, on the offensive side of things, the Broncos have looked way more competent than Chicago.
I think it's safe to say that the only way the Chicago Bears pull this one off is if the offensive scheme drastically changes in a way we saw Luke Getsy change things heading into the New Englang Patriots game. A shift that made Bears fans excited despite losing close football games. A shift that, honestly, fooled most of us into thinking 2023 could be different. Now, at 0-3 on the season, it's looking like a disaster could be brewing.