“Life’s On The Line”

Intriguing Game- Week 11 

Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams 

Bears: Sunday was a huge win for them. Coming into the game against the Lions, the Chicago Bears hadn’t won a game since week four when they beat the Minnesota Vikings at home. After that victory, it was a rough stretch for them losing five in a row. They went winless in the entire month of October. The questions surrounding them were what exactly is wrong with them? It was a few things starting with the offense of course. That’s been the biggest issue. Let me explain. Last season when Matt Nagy was hired to be their coach, he implemented the right system to complement Mitchell Tribusky. Whenever a football team has a new offense in place, the opposition won’t know how to stop it because there’s no game film on them. That’s why they were able to be so successful. A year later, they’ve tried to run the same scheme and it hasn’t worked. There’s been no creativity to move the football down the field. Look at the elite offenses in the NFL, they either have an identity or balance. The Bears have neither if you think about it. It seems as if Mitchell Tribusky will be celebrated this week. He’s received his fair share of criticisms throughout the year along with hearing “they passed up on Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomed for him”. Week ten was the best I’ve seen Mitch look all year long. He had confidence in his throws, he stepped into his passes and most importantly, he didn’t turn the football over! He completed 16 of his 23 pass attempts, threw for 173 yards and a season-high, three touchdown passes. Now, they’re in third place. It truly makes all the difference being a game under .500 than to be three games. This defense deserves every accolade possible. They’ve been the backbone of this entire team. I also know they’ve been tired because they’ve had to be on the field so much to cover up the holes for the lack of production from the offense. Coach is preaching one game at a time. If the Bears really want to make a statement, this is their chance to do so on Sunday night against the defending NFC Champions.

Rams: I’ve been concerned about them all season long. Coming out the gate, they always looked shaky. I can say they aren’t the same team we’ve see dominate because defenses have caught up to them. When I watch the Rams, I see three things wrong. First, they’ve completely abandoned the running game. Todd Gurley isn’t getting his touches at all. The last two seasons, Todd was an intricate part behind the Rams offensive success. He impacted the game as both a runner and a receiver. Secondly, the offensive line has been so inconsistent. One week, the protection is top of the line, the next, they’re struggling and getting pushed off the line of scrimmage five yards per play. An offensive line sets the tone up front. They haven’t. Lastly, when Jared Goff gets rattled, he becomes defeated. He struggles when you consistently pressure him. The defending NFC Champs looked terrible on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Their offense couldn’t sustain any type of productivity. Anytime they had the ball, nothing happened. Their defense proved they are still one of the best in the league though. That’s how it should be especially with Wade Phillips coaching your defense. I didn’t think I’d see this type of football from them. When they have everything clicking, they’re a scary team to face. Especially when their offense has it going for them. There’s no excuse as to why they’re struggling because the receivers have been healthy. The only shining point of their season so far has been the return of Cooper Kupp. He’s Jared’s go to guy for a reason. Anytime they need a receiver to make that catch over the middle, you can always call on number 18 to make that play. He’s my favorite to be named Comeback Player of the Year. Around this time last year, the Rams had a comfortable lead in the NFC West. What a difference a year makes because if the playoffs started today, they’d be watching it from their couches for the free. This is a must-win game for them on Sunday night. From this point moving forward, they need to treat every game as if it were a playoff game. It’s one step at a time now. The Bears are rolling into town for a big game in the NFC.

Bears Player to Watch: Roquan Smith– I watched a lot of him during his days with the Georgia Bulldogs. When you think of the history of Bears linebackers, it’s a lot to live up too. The way we’ve talked about Butkus, Singletary and Urlacher, I think we’ll be discussing him in that same way years from now. He’s a physical presence, he plays sideline to sideline, he displays a strong sense for the football and he’s always in on the tackle.

Rams Player to Watch: Gerald Everett– With Brandin Cooks out for this game, this is who becomes that third target for Jared Goff. You would think he was another wide receiver the way the Rams use him, but he’s a tight end. He’s a big presence wherever he lines up. I refer to him as a hybrid meaning he can do more with his style of play. It’s rare you see tight ends being used in the screen game. That’s what the Rams do with him.

Final Analysis: When this game was revealed on the schedule, many thought these two would be fighting for the best record in the NFC. All these months later, not necessarily. Both teams are fighting for their playoff lives. If you’re the Bears, you should be pumped up coming into this game because the Rams have a defeated attitude now. I’m attacking their offensive line and making Goff throw the football at least 35 times in this game. Remember when these teams met last year? The Bears defense bottled up Gurley and forced the game in the hands of Goff. I see the Bears using much of that same game plan. Sunday night will be very interesting.

Prediction: Bears 17 Rams 13

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