The 5-2 New England Patriots welcome the 3-4 Chicago Bears to Foxboro to play a game that could go a long way in determining the fate of the 2014 Bears. Chicago has struggled at the worst of times this year, with two of their five losses coming at the hands of the Bills and Dolphins. If Chicago and their defense couldn't find a way to shut down Ryan Tannehill, how are they going to stop Tom Brady? Let's take a look at the Weekly Five and determine who will come out on top in this pivotal matchup.
1. How will the Patriots move the ball?
This is not the same Bears defense that has given teams fits over the last decade, not even close for that matter. Chicago is allowing 356 yards and 24.4 points per game, both ranked in the bottom half of the league. They've allowed average quarterbacks to light them up, and now they have to deal with a Hall of Famer who's playing his best. Lance Briggs is doubtful for Sunday, another blow to a defense that is hurting. Expect Tom Brady and the Patriots offense to move the ball at will today and put up big yardage and points.
2. Can the Bears score against the New England defense?
Jay Cutler and the Chicago offense has plenty of weapons with Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffrey, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte, but for a team loaded with talent, things haven't gone as expected. The Patriots defense has struggled defending the run, but they're pass defense is the best in football, only allowing 208 yards per game. The Bears advantage is Matt Forte, and the Patriots are going to struggle to stop him. Expect Forte to run for well over 100 yards today but the Patriots pass defense to give Marshall, Jeffrey and Cutler fits. Brandon Browner was picked up specifically for games like this; he should be matched up with Alshon Jeffrey and Revis will pick up Marshall. Chicago will score, but not as much as they like.
3. Who has the edge in the coaching match up?
Bill Belichick has the clear edge in today's matchup, and Marc Trestman not only has his hands full with the game today, he's also a coach on the hotseat. With the talent assembled in Chicago, the results haven't come close to the expectations and someone is going to pay for it eventually. That typically is the head coach, and with the reports of a wild locker room scene following the Week Seven loss to Miami, Trestman is clearly losing control of his team. The Patriots on the other hand are riding a winning streak and the coach and quarterback seemed to have worked out whatever issues there were in the first month of the season. Advantage- Patriots. Soon to be unemployed- Marc Trestman.
4. Will the Bears find a way to give Brady fits?New England has dealt with some serious pass rushers in 2014, and today they get to face off against defensive end Willie Young. Young has seven sacks for the Bears in the first seven games, so clearly the offensive line needs to figure out how to deal with him. Stephen Paea has provided a strong interior pass rush, contributing four sacks and 15 tackles. Although the Bears do have 19 sacks to date, today they will struggle to get pressure and won't be able to rattle Tom Brady.
5. Who wins the game?
The Bears are the type of team that looks great on paper and are fun to use when playing Madden, but when you put them on the real field, they just aren't that good. Injuries have hurt the defense, but relying on 30-something's to stay healthy is foolish. The Patriots have their issues, mainly defending the run, which we'll see today, but they find a way to get things done and today should be no different. New England will win through the air today with the occasional strong run thrown in from someone in their young stable of backs (hopefully Jonas Gray). Chicago will make a few big plays, but it won't be enough.
Patriots 38, Bears 20