The Chicago Bears are coming off of a near disaster at Soldier Field this past Sunday where they barely escaped with a 23-22 win over the now 1-6 Carolina Panthers. There was not much the Chicago Bears did well in that game until the fourth quarter. Cutler was sacked six times in the first half, but the line eventually settled in enough to allow Cutler to lead two impressive drives at the end of the game. This game was certainly not encouraging for the struggling offensive line, but it was good to see the Chicago Bears show the ability to make a comeback and win a game that they did not deserve to win. The Chicago Bears take on the 3-5 Tennessee Titans this week, and Chicago will need to play much better in this game if they want to get a win.
The Chicago Bears need to figure out how to keep Jay Cutler upright if they want to extend their five game winning streak this week. It is evident that Jay Cutler is a completely different quarterback when he gets time to sit in the pocket and go through all of his reads. Cutler and the offense are almost unstoppable when the offensive line is playing well, as was seen in the fourth quarter this past Sunday against Carolina. Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice does not have to turn the line into a stone wall, he simply has to have them playing at a high enough level so that they don’t completely screw up the rest of the offense. If they can find a way to do that, the Chicago offense should not have too much trouble putting up points against the Tennessee Titans defense, which ranks among the leagues worst in almost all defensive categories.
The Chicago Bears defense also needs to step up their game going into week nine. They are coming off a game in which they gave up 416 total yards to the team with the worst record in the NFC in Carolina. There is no doubt that Tim Jennings will be fired up after Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith’s post game comments about Jennings’ performance this past week.
“That was the best play he made all game on me,” said Smith, “But it was a key moment in the game, changed the momentum. I know you want to pump him up. But I’ve been kicking his (butt) every time I come up here. And today wasn’t no different. Do you disagree?”
Jennings claimed the comments had no effect on him, but there is no doubt that he will be playing with a chip on his shoulder this Sunday. If you pair a fired up Tim Jennings with a defensive player of the year candidate in Charles Tillman it spells disaster for a Tennessee receiving corps which lacks a true number one target.
The worry for the Chicago defense should lie in the running game of Tennessee, where Chris Johnson has broken out of his slump and has been looking more like the CJ2K of old. But as I mentioned before, Tennessee lacks a star wide receiver which will allow the Chicago Bears defense to put more men near the line of scrimmage in order to contain Johnson. This means that Tennessee will most likely have to prove to the Bears that they can throw the ball in order to create some running room for CJ2K to do his thing.
The Chicago Bears learned a valuable lesson this past week that they cannot simply show up to games against lesser opponents and expect to be handed wins. In the NFL, especially this year, anyone can beat anyone on any given day. I believe the Chicago Bears have learned their lesson and they will come out and play inspired football on Sunday en route to a blowout win in Nashville.