1.) Slow Down the Run
The Patriots have had plenty of success running the football this season, even with injuries. With Mac Jones expected to play for the first time since week three and the Bear’s horrible track record against the run this year, I would expect the Patriots to keep the ball on the ground. Rhamondre Stevenson has over 440 rushing yards this season, and half of those yards have come in the last two games. With Damien Harris out, he has gotten the bulk of the carries, and he hasn’t disappointed. If the Bears want to win this game, they need to keep him in check. Whether it’s adjusting the scheme to pick up the run or keeping more players on the line, they need to change something. If the Bears can hold Stevenson and the Patriot’s rushing attack, they have a much greater chance at a win.
2.) Keep Fields Upright
Justin Fields has been sacked 23 times through six games this season. He was sacked 36 times in 12 games last season. He has also been pressured on 46 percent of his dropbacks, which according to ESPN, is the most since 2009, when the stat was first recorded. Fields was only sacked twice in both the game against the 49ers and the game against the Vikings. They won one and lost the other, but those were the games Fields looked the best. He was sacked five or more times in the games against the Texans, Giants, and Commanders. In those games, he looked arguably the worst he has in his career so far. Fields can do great things when he has time to throw and isn’t pressured right after the snap. If the Bear’s pass protection can hold up, the Bears have a much better chance of winning. With reports that the offensive line is changing, there’s more hope they can better protect Fields. The Patriots have 17 sacks on the season, so it will be yet another challenging task for the offensive line. But, if they can give Fields time to throw, it will let Fields take control of the offense and bring the Bears a much-needed win.
3.) Capitalize on Drives
In Week 6 against the Washington Commanders, the Bears were inside the Washington five-yard line three times. The Bears had almost double the total yards the Commanders had. Yet they only scored once and lost 12-7. That is unacceptable from the offense. There were missed plays and opportunities by everyone on the offense. Fields and Ryan Griffin couldn’t hook up on an easy touchdown, Herbert couldn’t push his way into the endzone on fourth down at the one, and Darnell Mooney couldn’t hang onto the game-winning touchdown on the game’s last play. Well, technically, he did, but he couldn’t grab it in the endzone. There was missed chance after missed chance for the Bears, and they couldn’t capitalize on any of them. If they want to win, they need to score touchdowns when they’re in the red zone. No more field goals or missed fourth-and-goals. Especially against a defense that has only allowed 15 points in the last two games. The Bears need every point they can get, and missing out on touchdowns in the red zone is not an option. If they want a win, they need to capitalize in the red zone.
The Bears are coming off a bad loss to the Commanders, while the Patriots are coming off back-to-back good wins against the Lions and Browns. However, after playing on Thursday night last week, the Bears have had extra rest. Mac Jones is also expected to play for the Patriots after missing the previous two games with an ankle injury. The Bears aren’t expected to win this game, but an upset doesn’t seem too crazy. The Bears are rested up and injury free, while the Patriots have 12 players questionable for Monday night. The Bears don’t have much momentum right now, but they certainly have the upper hand in the health factor.