The First-Place Bears Can't Afford to Overlook the Last-Place Bills and Other Bullets

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The First-Place Bears Can’t Afford to Overlook the Last-Place Bills and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

The chill in the air means I start to transition from coffee to tea with honey. Coffee is still important to me, but there’s something that is so soothing about tea with honey that makes me feel better about everything.

  • It’s been a while since the Bears have been in a position to get to five wins at this point of the season:

  • These words paint a not-so-glowing picture of the site of today’s game:

  • The Bears *should* beat an undermanned Bills team coming off a short week against a divisional foe, but they won’t if they don’t bring their A-game:

  • Buffalo’s defense is mean as heck. The Bills enter Week 9 as a top-10 yardage defense (they’ve allowed fewer yards per game than the Bears) but opponents are scoring 25 points per game. There is clearly a disconnect here between talent and results. Some of it might be because the offense can’t sustain long drives, which gives opponents short fields to work on. Another factor could be the number of giveaways for an offense that ranks in the 30s in scoring average and yards per game. Buffalo’s 18 giveaways are tied for the second most in football. But if the Bills can play a clean game, the Bears will have a fight on their hands.
  • The Bills can’t be underestimated. For starters, the Bears haven’t shown to be consistently good enough to overlook teams. But more important than that, Buffalo has a lot of factors going in its favor. The Bills are at home in a hostile environment as a double-digit home underdog who could play the no respect card leading up to this contest. There are times when teams are down on the mat like this and rather than roll over, team leaders lead a charge. Of course, the Bears could avoid this potential dubious mess by getting off to a hot start with the defense forcing a quick three-and-out or a turnover. If the offense gets the ball out of the gate, going on a lengthy drive that ends with a touchdown would go a long way toward coming away with a win.
  • Mitch Trubisky is on fire on the fantasy front, but the play today might be the Bears defense/special teams:

  • Defenses playing Buffalo have scored 19 points or more in three of the last four games, which makes Chicago’s defense so tantalizing as a play today. And there is no one way defenses are doing it either. The Bills have allowed 2+ sacks in seven games, 2+ interceptions in five games, a fumble recovery in four of the last five, and D/ST touchdown in two of the last three.
  • Maybe today is the day Benny Cunningham or Tarik Cohen breaks one for a score. Cohen is averaging 11.7 yards per punt return, which is the sixth highest average in the league and has helped the Bear gain an edge in the field position battle. On the other hand, Cunningham has struggled and could use a slump-busting performance against Buffalo. Cunningham’s 21.6 yards per kick return average is 5.5 yards below what he averaged in his four years with the Rams before arriving in Chicago. It’s a disappointing development, to be sure. But as long as Cunningham isn’t fumbling away, he’ll probably continue to get chances to return.
  • Here is a fun factoid about the last time Nathan Peterman and Mitch Trubisky squared off:

  • Peterman and the Bills have nothing to lose. The team is a major underdog and the quarterback has literally played like one of the worst to ever suit up and get significant snaps. With that in mind, look for Buffalo to muck it up a bit by slowing the tempo and essentially take the air out of the ball. Buffalo runs an average of 60 plays per game, which is the fifth fewest in the league. On the other side of the ball, the Bears’ 66 plays per game is the 11th most. More plays generally means more offense, while fewer plays tend to limit scoring chances. But in Buffalo’s case, fewer plays could lead to a decreased chance of the quarterback making a mistake.
  • These two things could be related:

  • Bruce Irvin was a 2012 first-round pick by the Seahawks, but didn’t play his best ball until he was lining up opposite of Khalil Mack in Oakland. Irvin picked up seven sacks and a league-leading six forced fumbles in his first year with the Raiders back in 2016. He followed that stellar season with eight more sacks and four more forced fumbles. Irvin’s production has taken a step back this year with just three sacks and a forced fumble. So while I’m not sure what the Bears’ level of interest could be here, it’s fair to wonder if it would be worth adding to the defense’s depth for the stretch run.
  • The best could still be yet to come:

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.