MATCHUPS TO WATCH: BEARS OFFENSE VS. TITANS DEFENSE
As much as Grossman is known for alternating between big plays downfield and head-scratching mistakes, he'll find a huge challenge in a defense that is currently tied with Green Bay for the most interceptions in the league (13).
Gs Josh Beekman and Roberto Garza vs. DT Albert Haynesworth: The Bears have been much better than anticipated along the offensive line so far this season, both opening up running lanes on the ground and protecting the quarterback. However, they'll face their toughes test of the season Sunday in Haynesworth, arguably the most dominant defender in all of football right now. Not only does rookie Matt Forte need to find some wiggle room in order to move the chains against a sturdy front seven, but Grossman is going to require time to throw if he wants to make some of those signature big plays downfield – and don't forget he tends to hold onto the ball too long at times.
Neither Beekman nor Garza can match up with Haynesworth physically and will be destroyed blocking him one on one, meaning former Pro Bowl center Olin Kreutz must provide help at all costs.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: TITANS OFFENSE VS. BEARS DEFENSE
Chicago's defensive line and linebackers will find Tennessee's outstanding offensive line to be quite a challenge, as well. Basically, on offense, these guys are the Vikings with an actual NFL-caliber QB in Kerry Collins.
TEs Bo Scaife and Alge Crumpler vs. LBs Hunter Hillenmeyer and Nick Roach: The Titans may be the only team in the league with a weaker group of receivers than the Bears, as Brandon Jones is their top wideout in terms of catches with just 19 in eight games. But Collins has been effective at times through the air, mostly thanks to Johnson and White forcing eight-man fronts but also because of Scaife and Crumpler working the middle of the field. Hillenmeyer, who is still recovering from thumb surgery, leaves a lot to be desired in coverage and Roach is relatively inexperienced, plus potentially not having Mike Brown in the secondary because of a calf injury could make a weak pass defense even more vulnerable.
The Bears have shut down some pretty good running games this season and will sell out to take away Tennessee's ground attack Sunday, so Collins should have a few matchups in his favor when he drops back to pass.
THE TITANS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF ...
THE TITANS WILL LOSE THIS GAME IF ...
THE BEARS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF ...
THE BEARS WILL LOSE THIS GAME IF ...
John Crist: On paper, the Bears should have a good chance to win this game because of how well they've defended quality running teams so far, plus they've moved the ball fairly consistently on offense all season long. But the Grossman factor simply can't be ignored – even though he led two second-half touchdown drives to come back and beat the lowly Lions last week, he was intercepted once and probably should have been a few more times with all the passes batted down at the of scrimmage. Chicago's D thrives on turnovers, but Tennessee simply does not give the ball away. ... TITANS 20, BEARS 13.
Behind Enemy Lines: Part III
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