The Chicago Bears are already at a critical juncture as they prepare for a Chiefs Week 3 game in Kansas City. Very little has gone right for the Bears at the start of the season, and the team was hoping for a significant improvement in 2023 after finishing with a 3-14 mark a year ago.
The belief in the Windy City was that the Bears had improved their roster quite a bit after trading away the No. 1 pick in the draft and gaining additional draft picks and high-level wide receiver D.J. Moore. They also added several notable defensive players, including linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards and rookie defensive back Tyrique Stevenson.
However, the Bears have opened the season in very unimpressive fashion, dropping games to the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
They hosted the archrival Packers in the season opener, and hopes were quite high because the Bears did not have to face nemesis Aaron Rodgers since he had moved on to the New York Jets. Instead, the Packers were the far more aggressive and inspired team. The Bears were non-competitive for large portions of the game, and that included quarterback Justin Fields.
The Bears were a bit better against Tampa Bay in Week 2, and had a chance to win that game in the 4th quarter when they had closed to within 20-17. The defense got the ball back for Fields, but instead of marching down the field with a chance to tie or go ahead, Fields threw an interception on a screen pass that Shaq Barrett took in for a game-clinching touchdown.
Going into Kansas City and coming away with an upset over the defending Super Bowl champions seems a bit too much to ask.
3. Pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue will get 2 sacks in this game
The Bears are going to have to put pressure on All-Pro quarterback Patrick Mahomes if they are going to have a chance. However, that does not mean going after Mahomes with the blitz.
The quarterback eats up those plays because of his quick release, athleticism and creativity. Mahomes almost always wins the battle when teams comes after him with an extra attacker or more.
The Bears acquired Ngakoue with the idea that he would provide the kind of pressure needed to help out the secondary, and so far he has the only sack the team has recorded in the first two games.
The Chiefs will attempt to slow down Ngakoue's pass rush with left tackle Donovan Smith, and he has has issues with his elbow and his strength in the past. He appears to be healthy now, but Ngakoue may have an advantage.
If the star pass rusher gets 2 sacks it will help the Bears' cause, but he may need to force at least one turnover if the Bears are going to have an opportunity to stay with the Chiefs for 4 quarters.
2. The Chicago coaching staff must come through under intense scrutiny
The Bears coaching staff appears to be in disarray already.
Defensive coordinator Alan Williams has resigned under mysterious circumstances. Williams coached the opener against the Packers but missed the Week 2 game with the Bucs.
The reason for Williams' absence was listed as “personal,” and the defensive coordinator subsequently resigned Wednesday. According to the team, family and health reasons were listed as the reasons for his departure, but it only led to more questions.
Why would a coach on an NFL team with its multiple resources be forced to resign during a health or family crisis? It would seem a leave of absence would be more appropriate, but the move did not go that way. Eberflus will handle the defensive coordinator responsibilities in addition to the head coaching duties.
1. Fields will exceed 100 yards rushing as offensive coordinator Luke Getsy changes approach
In addition to the Williams fiasco this week, Fields called out the coaching staff when assessing his performance to this point in the season.
He demonstrated a year ago that he is one of the best running quarterbacks in NFL history after gaining 1,143 yards on the ground and scoring 8 touchdowns. Fields has just 62 rushing yards in the first 2 games, and the Bears are not taking advantage of his immense athletic ability.
If the Bears are going to have any chance of staying with the Chiefs, they are going to have to win the possession battle. That means keeping the clock moving by running the ball.
Fields will get that chance in this game, and show off his skills against Kansas City.