The Windy City is starting to boil over with anticipation, as the Chicago Bears have proven themselves to be exciting. Last week, the Bears fell to the Dallas Cowboys 29-49, and while that reads like a blowout, the Bears showed incredible improvement. They hung around during a tough first half and put up 10 points in the last minute of play, bringing the score to 17-28 and keeping the game competitive. While the Cowboys began to run away due to the Chicago defense’s lackluster showing, many Bears fans walked away from the game with a good feeling – the Bears offense is efficient, and can consistently score.
What does that mean for this week? Well, it may seem hard to believe, and probably hasn’t been said about the Bears for decades, but NFL fans can expect to see themselves witness to a shootout this Sunday. The Bears offense has proven itself more than capable the last few weeks, and they now have the exciting new addition of wide receiver Chase Claypool, who they got from the Steelers in a trade. Claypool is a budding young talent, but has had a dip in performance compared to his first two seasons. However, the Steelers have had a bit of a quarterback carousel recently, and their offensive coordinator may be in the hot seat. It’s safe to say Claypool hasn’t been in the best system this season, and many are expecting him to excel and bring life to Chicago. Claypool’s arrival to Chicago doesn’t just mean the Bears have gotten a great player – it also means the offense should become much more dynamic. His arrival is sure to help boost Chicago’s running game and free up other wide receivers, like fan favorite Darnell Mooney.
Enough about the Bears offense, because a surprising question lingers, will Chicago’s defense be able to put up a good showing? Chicago seems to have entered a partial rebuild, and two big defensive names have left the team. Defensive end Robert Quinn was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles last week, and just prior to the trade deadline on November 1st, the Bears traded away All-Pro linebacker Roquan Smith, who is far from easily replaceable. Over in Baltimore, NFL fans should expect to keep hearing his name for years to come. With Smith gone, the Bears are missing the man who was arguably their best defensive player. This is dangerous, especially against the Dolphins, who are home to the current best WR in the league, Tyreek Hill. The combination of Hill, fellow WR Jaylen Waddle, running backs Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson, and star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa makes the Dolphins an incredibly dangerous team. They are more than capable of putting up points, and if the Bears defense was struggling before Smith was gone, then we can probably expect them to struggle a whole lot more. However, don’t count the Bears out entirely. Their defensive secondary has been developing nicely, and the young defensive backs Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker have consistently improved. Paired with the talents of veteran safety Eddie Jackson, the Bears are probably good for at least one turnover tomorrow. In fact, Chicago’s defense really is the determining factor of the game. With solid play, this new Bears offense can keep up with the explosive Dolphins offense. Without it, the Bears may put up quite a few points, but probably won’t be able to keep up.
In other news, the injury reports for both teams are relatively clear, so those shouldn’t be too much of an issue. However, the Bears offense has a big, new obstacle to worry about – linebacker Bradley Chubb. The Dolphins just acquired him before the trade deadline on November 1st, meaning they now have a stellar player leading their defense. Alongside this, Bears fans might actually be treated to a pleasant surprise. With Roquan Smith gone, some of the young, defensive depth pieces will see more playing time. This includes fan favorite linebacker Jack Sanborn, who had a stellar preseason. In all the defensive shuffling, the Bears might have just unearthed a secret treasure.
Overall, the Bears really aren’t expected to win this. If they do, it’s a huge bonus – fans will be happy with just seeing an entertaining, offensive game. In that spirit, the Bears are really just playing with nothing to lose, and everything to prove. On that note, let’s gamble on the Bears offense once again, and see how explosive this game will get.
35 – 31 Chicago Bears