PATRIOTS vs. BEARS: Week 7 Preview – October 21, 2018

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PATRIOTS vs. BEARS: Week 7 Preview – October 21, 2018

Game Previews

Unless Tom Brady’s career extends until age 50, the best quarterback of our era (or possibly any era) will play at Soldier Field for the last time on Sunday. Notice I didn’t say this is the last time he’ll play the Bears, because we are open to the possibility of a rematch against the Patriots in February. In fact, we’re keeping our schedule clear just in case.

The Patriots are the gold standard in football and I’m eager to see how the Bears measure up. That’s not to say that the result will push us to make some grand pronouncement of the Bears’ future one way or another (they’ll still have 10 games (including five against division foes) after this one to write the story of their 2018) but measuring stick games are fun. Embrace the challenge and see where the chips fall. Let’s go already!

Never Tell Me The Odds:”

The Bears are 3-point underdogs at the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas, with an over/under of 49. Oddsmakers might be on something when setting a high total as the over has come in three of the Bears’ five games and three of the last five Patriots contests.

Series History:

The Bears are 3-9 all-time against the Patriots and 0-4 against Tom Brady. But Chicago has the one win against New England that matters the most:

Game Time, Broadcast Info, Officiating Crew:

Location: Soldier Field

Broadcast Info: Sunday, October 21 at noon on CBS (Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn), WBBM-AM 780, WCFS-FM 105.9

Referee: Clay Martin

Expected Starters and Lineups:

Bears Offense Expected Starters:

  • QB Mitch Trubisky
  • RB Jordan Howard
  • RB Tarik Cohen
  • WR Allen Robinson II
  • WR Taylor Gabriel
  • TE Trey Burton
  • LT Charles Leno Jr.
  • LG Eric Kush
  • C Cody Whitehair
  • RG Kyle Long
  • RT Bobby Massie

Bears Defense Expected Starters:

  • DT Akiem Hicks
  • NT Eddie Goldman
  • DE Jonathan Bullard
  • OLB Khalil Mack
  • ILB Danny Trevathan
  • ILB Roquan Smith
  • OLB Leonard Floyd
  • CB Kyle Fuller
  • CB Prince Amukamara
  • FS Eddie Jackson
  • SS Adrian Amos

Bears Specialists: 

  • Cody Parkey (kicker), Pat O’Donnell (punter, holder), Patrick Scales (long snapper), Benny Cunningham, Tarik Cohen (kick returners), Tarik Cohen (punt returner)

Patriots Offense Expected Starters:

  • QB Tom Brady
  • RB Sony Michel
  • RB James White
  • WR Julian Edelman
  • WR Josh Gordon
  • TE Rob Gronkowski
  • LT Trent Brown
  • LG Joe Thuney
  • C David Andrew
  • RG Shaq Mason
  • RT Marcus Cannon

Patriots Defense Expected Starters:

  • LDE Trey Flowers
  • DT Lawrence Guy
  • DT Malcom Brown
  • RDE Adrian Clayborn
  • LB Dont’a Hightower
  • LB Elandon Roberts
  • LB Kyle Van Nnoy
  • RCB Stephon Gilmore
  • LCB Eric Rowe
  • S Patrick Chung
  • S Devin McCourty

Patriots Specialists:

  • Stephen Gostkowski (kicker), Ryan Allen (punter), Joe Gardona (long snapper), Cordarrelle Patterson (kick return), Julian Edelman (punt return)

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Chicago Bears – Offense

Trey Burton has scored touchdowns in three of the last four games and has been one of Mitch Trubisky’s most trusted targets, so he could be in line for more against the Patriots. Tight ends facing New England the last two weeks have received 27 targets, caught 17 passes, gained 210 yards, and scored three touchdowns. Eric Ebron did a ton of damage in Week 5 (9 catches, 105 yards, 2 TDs) and then Travis Kelce had a respectable 5-catch, 61-yard game. But if Allen Robinson is limited or can’t play and Taylor Gabriel gets extra attention after his breakouts, it could be Burton’s time to shine.

Chicago Bears – Defense

Bryce Callahan is Pro Football Focus’ fourth-highest-graded cornerback with an impressive 83.2 grade. The only corners who grade better are Byron Jones (90.5), Patrick Peterson (83.3), and teammate Prince Amukamara (83.3). Callahan is in the midst of a breakout season in what is a contract year. Talk about good timing! Unfortunately, Callahan popped up on the Bears’ injury report as questionable because of an ankle injury suffered on Thursday. If Callahan can’t go, the Bears might need to get creative to slow down Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Josh Gordon, or whichever pass-catcher is in the slot.

New England Patriots – Offense

Josh Gordon saw his snap percentage skyrocket from 26.1 percent in Week 5 to 80.6 percent in Week 6. With additional snaps came more opportunities for Gordon, who was targeted nine times and caught five passes. Gordon is the most talented receiver Tom Brady has worked with since Randy Moss left New England and he has soaked up enough of the playbook to get a major snap share. Gordon could go off against the Bears, especially if Prince Amukamara isn’t playing.

New England Patriots – Defense

Trey Flowers is on the cusp of being graded as an elite edge defender by Pro Football Focus’ grading scale. PFF notes that Flowers’ 16 percent pressure percentage is the seventh best in football, which means he could be a threat to Trubisky and the rest of the Bears’ passing offense. With that in mind, we’ll keep an eye on left tackle Charles Leno Jr., who certainly has his work cut out for him.


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Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation Bears, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.