Akiem Hicks has to be overjoyed at the state of things. He left the Chicago Bears in early October with a bad elbow injury. One that landed him on Injured Reserve and many wondered if he could return this season. The team did indicate he could get back for the Green Bay Packers game in Week 15. The big question would be whether the season mattered at that point. That loss to the Raiders in London started a slide that found Chicago on the doorstep of despair at 4-6.
It looked like Hicks would be too late getting back to help. Then a strange thing happened. Mitch Trubisky, of all people, got hot. From the second half of a win over the New York Giants, he has accounted for nine touchdowns. The Bears reeled off three-straight victories including a Thursday night thumping of the Dallas Cowboys. Just like that their record is 7-6 and the playoffs are still a legitimate discussion.
Now barring an unexpected development, Hicks is expected to return next Sunday for the grudge match at Lambeau Field. Leonard Floyd was recording his trip to Club Dub after the game last night and happened to catch the defensive end along the way. Hicks’ reaction, especially his eyes tell the entire story of how he’s feeling.
Akiem Hicks should re-energize the Bears pass rush
The Bears defense is probably more excited about this than even Hicks himself. He’s been the beating heart of this unit for years now. Not only was he their second-best pass rusher, but also arguably their best run defender. That is a lot to overcome. Getting him back now with the addition of allowing a balky knee extra time to rest and recuperate? It should make for a monumental boost and his teammates know it.
“Like (Khalil) Mack said, ‘Mufasa is back,’” Eddie Jackson said. “Mufasa is back, baby.”
Hicks will be a huge bonus for Mack. The star outside linebacker has had to contend with double and triple teams for over two months. With the big defensive end back in the lineup, offenses won’t have the luxury of doing that as often, opening up opportunities for more sacks. Starting hopefully with Aaron Rodgers. The timing of all this feels almost perfect. Whether it’s enough to overcome their arch rival remains to be seen.