Week 9: Chicago Bears At Tennessee Titans
- QuarterbacksJay Cutler was not at his best in the Bears’ 23-23 Week Eight, come-from-behind victory over the Carolina Panthers. Cutler completed 19-of-28 passes for 186 yards with one TD pass and an interception. He rarely went downfield with any authority, and he may be having problems with his ribs after taking a brutal shot from Detroit’s Ndamukong Suh in the Bears’ Week Seven Monday night game.Matt Hasselbeck has done a reasonable job in filling at the No. 1 quarterback position, but he is not a game-changing athlete at this point in his career. He can take what the defense will give him, but he is not going to be able to throw over the top of the defense and make big plays. This is particularly true of Chicago defense that makes a lot more big plays than they give up.
- OffenseMatt Forte is one of the most overlooked players in the NFL. He is the glue to the Bears’ gameplan. He gets the job done running the ball and he is also a superior receiver who shows the willingness to block on an every-game basis. Brandon Marshall is the Bears’ big-play weapon and he has a great rapport with Cutler and superb athletic ability. The offensive line struggles to protect Cutler and that is the Bears’ biggest issue.Chris Johnson is one of the most erratic players in the league. While he has breakaway speed, he does not run with abandon often enough and regularly seems like he is trying to protect himself. Nate Washington and Kendall Wright are solid receivers who will get open regularly and catch the ball when Hasselbeck gets the ball to them accurately.
- DefenseThe Bears are the best scoring defense in the league. They specialize in taking the ball away and turning those plays into touchdowns. Outside linebacker Lance Briggs already has two interceptions that he has returned for touchdowns and is a tackling machine. Cornerback Charles Tillman has benefited from covering Marshall in practice and that gives him an edge on facing smaller receivers in games.If the Bears are having some difficulty with their defense, they may be lining up against the right opponent to get well. The Titans rank 30th overall in total defense and they are poor against the run (28th in the NFL) and even worse against the pass (29th). The Titans need more production from middle linebacker Will Weatherspoon, who has 30 tackles and 1.0 sack this season
- Special TeamsRobbie Gould hit another clutch field goal when he kicked the game-winning 41-yarder at the gun in the win over the Panthers. Adam Podlesh is a decent but not great punter who averaged 44.8 yards on four punts against Carolina. The Bears are waiting for return specialist Devin Hester to unleash one of his patented returns this season.Rob Bironas is one of the most dependable kickers in the NFL, but he missed a field goal against the Colts that would have given the Titans a much better chance to win the game. Brett Kern is averaging 47.4 yards per punt and has dropped 15 inside the opponents’ 20 yard line.
The Bears didn’t do anything to impress in Week Eight against the Carolina Panthers, but they came away with the victory thanks to their fourth-quarter play. The Titans are hurting after dropping a home game to the Colts. Look for the Bears defense to assert itself and punish Hasselbeck.