The Chicago Bears know that the upcoming stretch of games out of their bye week will make or break their season. It starts with a homestand against the New Orleans Saints, then the arrival of the Los Angeles Chargers before going on the road for a rematch with the Philadelphia Eagles. Those are three really good football teams that feature balanced rosters. This is a problem since the Bears are anything but one at the moment given their offensive struggles.
That being said, everything is not peachy for those opponents though. This is especially true for the Chargers. Not only did they lose their latest game to the Denver Broncos at home, a team the Bears beat, they also suffered a catastrophic loss to their starting lineup. Mike Pouncey, their Pro Bowl center suffered a neck injury in that game and was placed on injured reserve. This is a body blow to an offensive line that was already dealing with the absence of Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung.
The results of these losses weren’t hard to spot. Los Angeles managed just 35 yards rushing against the Broncos and quarterback Philip Rivers was harassed into two costly interceptions. While bad news for the Chargers, it can mean good news for the Bears who still have a strong defensive front despite the unfortunate absence of Akiem Hicks who is dealing with an elbow injury.
Chicago Bears will at least have matchup advantages
This doesn’t mean the Chargers are suddenly a pushover. Rivers is still a great quarterback and they have a number of weapons on that offense. That said, these losses up front present the Bears with a series of matchup advantages. Eddie Goldman will be going against Dan Feeney at center, a position he’s been moved to as an emergency with Pouncey out. Khalil Mack will also face Trent Scott and Sam Tevi on the edges. Neither could be called formidable obstacles.
If the secondary can keep the receivers from going crazy, the Bears should be able to fluster Rivers into mistakes. Provided the offense can actually score some points, this feels like a game they can and should win. Especially at home. A place the Chargers have yet to win in their franchise history.