The second half of the season is here people, and it’s a rematch with the Packers and this time we are the favorites. Green Bay is without Aaron Rodgers and has to come to soldier field to face a Bears team fresh off the bye. Much has changed since the first matchup and these are the questions for week 10.
- Can the passing attack finally break through?
The Bears have had the strongest strength of schedule so far this season and since Mitch Trubisky has taken over they have faced some of the toughest defenses in the league. Green Bay’s defense is 18th in passing yards which is a much easier load than the #5, #11, and #12 defenses Trubisky has faced in the past weeks. The bye week has given the Bears time to get new receiver Dontrelle Inman up to speed and the banged-up Markus Wheaton is expected to be back. Expect the Bears offense and Trubisky to step up This week against a shaky Green Bay secondary.
- With Zach Miller out, will Adam Shaheen finally live up to his second round billing?
Add in the fact that an illness has kept Dion Sims out of practice all week and this is a prime chance for the rookie tight end to shine. We have seen what a big athletic tight end can do in the NFL. Shaheen comes from a D2 school and was buried behind Miller and Sims on the depth chart and has had time to acclimate. Coming out the bye with a focus on balance for the offense look to see a bigger involvement from the rookie.
- Can the Bears defense make a statement?
The Rodgers-less Green Bay offense won’t strike fear into many and if the Bears D takes another step forward this could get ugly quick. With both starting tackles out, losing their starting tight end, and Brett Hundley looking in over his head look for the Bears front 7 to eat the Pack alive and if they can stop the run game this could be one of the more dominant games in Bears v Packers history. Letting Leonard Floyd and Akiem Hicks loose on Brett Hundley and a much-improved secondary holding Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson in check can spell disaster for the Packers offense.
- With Danny Trevathan likely out can Nick Kwiatkowski and Christian Jones prove to be a reliable tandem?
Christian Jones has played lights out since being forced into service due to injuries to both Nick Kwiatkowski and Jerrell Freeman, and with another PED suspension for Freeman likely ending his time with the Bears, this could be a battle to see who holds down the position for the future. I expect Kwit to get more snaps with another week of rest and to continue to show he is the future at the position. He has shown a knack for calling the plays and although he lacks the same athleticism of Jones, his instincts are elite. He finds the ball and is always there to get the big hit. Jones has shown to be quality depth and I expect him to get plenty of snaps in coverage that typically go to Trevathan. They should do a good job holding both Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery in check throughout the game.
- Can the Bears play a complete game?
The most important question is this one, we know the defense is good but can the offense finally step it up. This fully depends on coaching in my opinion. Can Dowell Loggains call a balanced and unpredictable game and if by chance he does can the players step up and execute with so few attempts at doing much besides run, run, pass, repeat. Another factor is how the Bears have dominated opponents in the first half but make so many errors in the second half to lose games for themselves. Penalties and bonehead mistakes have tainted the games for the Bears and have been your deciding factor in too many games. Ultimately I think this is why the Bears and 3-5 and not 5-3. The second half of the season will decide this coaching staffs jobs and this is the perfect chance to set a new tone, so if the Bears can’t stay mistake free and remain helplessly predictable on offense fans will get their wish for a new coaching staff this offseason.