The Bears are on a bye, which allowed me to sleep in a little more than usual as I continue my fight against a cold. Hopefully, you were able to sleep in too (bonus points for not having to deal with a cold).
- If you’re the type who still wants to dive into football face first even if your team is on bye, today is a great day to figure out who to root for (and against). The other three NFC North teams are in action and playing intriguing matchups. It’s the Vikings and Eagles in a rematch of last year’s NFC title game, which might have broken Minnesota’s defense. Starting with their NFC Championship Game loss, the Vikings have allowed 29.6 points per game in their last five. Last year, Minnesota’s defense limited opponents to 15.8 points per game last season so this counts as a step back. If the Vikings’ defense isn’t elite, then the road to the NFC playoffs is that much easier for the Bears. With that in mind: “Go Eagles, fly!”
- Finding a rooting interest in Lions-Packers is a bit more difficult because they’re both in the Bears’ division. Or maybe it isn’t. A Detroit win would bump its record to 2-3, while dropping Green Bay to 2-2-1. It’s the ultimate game of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
- BONUS: If you’re already looking for a fall-back plan in the Wild Card hunt, then you’ll want to root for the Giants to beat the Panthers.
- And when that’s all over, we can get back to rooting for this guy full-time:
Khalil Mack leads all edge defenders in pressures through four weeks. pic.twitter.com/YoaztCjcBE
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) October 5, 2018
- On top of being a stud defender, Khalil Mack plays a side role as an assistant coach. JJ Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago catches up with right tackle Rashaad Coward, who is in his first full year learning to play a new position all while trying to stop Mack in practice. As a long-time fan of trial by fire, I’m encouraged that Coward isn’t backing down from the challenge. If Coward can learn a thing or two from going up against the best pass-rusher in football, then he (and the team) will be better for it in the long run. Steel sharpens steel … and Mack’s attack is making everyone around him – on both sides of the ball! – better.
- Mitch Trubisky is part of NFL history. There have been more touchdown passes thrown through the first four weeks of the 2018 season than ever before – 228, to be exact. And yes, Trubisky’s six-touchdown game is part of the scoring frenzy. The league hasn’t seen this many air scores through four weeks since 2013 when there were 205. Passing offenses are usually ahead of the game at this time of year where the weather is nice, the fields aren’t sloppy, and players are (generally) at their healthiest. So that there have been a ton of passing touchdowns isn’t surprising … but it’s still impressive.
- What might be the most encouraging thing from the team’s Week 4 win is a little ploy Matt Nagy used to keep Trubisky pushing despite the Bears’ big lead. Matt Eurich of 247Sports digs up Bears-Bucs highlights via Inside the NFL, in which Nagy implored his quarterback to not let up. “Keep it going,” Nagy said on the sidelines. “We keep our foot on the pedal. We do not stop until the fourth quarter and there are zero seconds left.” That’s the kind of thing that needs to be drilled inside a team’s head (especially after living through that Week 1 defeat). If Nagy can successfully create a killer instinct in his quarterback, then the arrow will continue to point up.
- The Bears’ ability to get Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen involved in the passing game should help this offense evolve over the final 12 games of the season. Greg Gabriel of 670 The Score is quick to point out that balancing the respective workloads of the team’s top two backs is going to be crucial moving forward. We’d like to see Cohen on the field as often as possible, even if it’s just as a decoy. The way we see it, getting Cohen the right types of touches is more valuable than volume. Howard is the volume back, especially as far as carries are concerned. But make no mistake, both will play integral roles in this offense’s success down the stretch.
- And finally, Akiem Hicks’ punishment has come down:
Fine news: #Bears DT Akiem Hicks, who was recently ejected for shoving an official then threw his jersey and shoulder pads into stands, was fined $33,425 for contact with an official.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 6, 2018