Week 16: Chicago Bears At Arizona Cardinals
- QuarterbackJay Cutler has been quite disappointing for the Bear. While there are plenty of excuses that go along with his mediocrity – offensive line woes, poor receiving talent, multiple offensive coordinators – he has not given the Bears elite quarterback play and they are now on the verge of blowing what looked like a surefire playoff opportunity.The Cardinals have been awful at the quarterback position. Ryan Lindley was under center when the Cardinals broke their nine-game losing streak against the Lions in Week 15 and he completed 14-of-21 passes. However, Lindley is no better than a caretaker at the position and he will have a difficult time competing against the Bears.
- OffenseThe Bears are going to look to running back Matt Forte for a big game as a runner and a receiver. They also need wide receiver Brandon Marshall to assert himself and dominate the Arizona secondary. These are basically the only offensive players who have a chance to make plays for Lovie Smith’s team. The offensive line has struggled all season.The Cardinals’ offensive line has been a disaster this season. The Cardinals have played with three quarterbacks who have struggled to compete and the offensive line has not protected any of them. Running back Beanie Wells had a solid game against the Lions in Week 15 while wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Malcolm Floyd will try to find the holes in the Bears’ secondary.
- DefenseThe Bears were playing the best defense in the league through the first half of the season. While they are no longer at the top of their game, the defense should be a huge difference in this game. The Bears rank fifth overall and are 12th against the run. Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher will not be able to play against the Cardinals and the Bears miss his leadership on the field.The Cardinals have an excellent pass defense but they struggle against the run. The defense has been under pressure throughout the season since the offense has been so poor. Linebacker Daryl Washington is one of the most underrated players in the league. He leads the Cardinals with 115 tackles and he also has nine sacks. Sensational cornerback Patrick Peterson has 21 passes defensed and 7interceptions.
- Special TeamsThe Bears lost superb placekicker Robbie Gould and they are now forced to use retread Olindo Mare, who was 2-of-2 on field goal attempts in his first game vs. the Packers in Week 15. Devin Hester has been a big disappointment as a return specialist this season.Jay Feely has a big leg and can hit field goals from as long as 60 yards. Dave Zastudil is a competent punter. Peterson has explosive speed and return ability, but he has not brought a punt back for a score. Kick returner William Powell is averaging 24.1 yards per return with a long of 65 yards.
The Bears were one of the top teams in the league at the midway point, but they now need help to make the playoffs. They may not have much of an offense, but they should be able to handle the Cardinals, who had a nine-game losing streak before beating the Lions in Week 15.