The Chicago Bears will head to Miami to take on the Dolphins this Sunday following their bye last week.
It appears as if the two teams are heading in opposite directions as the Bears have won their last two games and the Dolphins have lost their last two games in ugly fashion. Although momentum appears to be on their side, it could be an upset if the Bears don’t take their week six opponent serious as here are five ways in which they can beat the Dolphins on Sunday:
Don’t come out of the bye week flat
In the Bears previous two seasons, they have lost the game following the bye week. In 2016, the team was throttled by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34-10 following a much-needed bye week where the team recovered from injuries.
Last season, they were upset at home against a Green Bay Packers team that was without Aaron Rodgers. It is important that Matt Nagy’s offense continues to perform the way they did against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week four scoring five first-half touchdowns.
Take advantage of the wounded Dolphins
The Dolphins’ offensive line is severely injured as they have lost their starting center and guard to injured reserve and could be without starting left tackle Laremy Tunsil on Sunday.
Tunsil was knocked out of last Sunday’s game against the Bengals with a concussion and has yet to be cleared from concussion protocol. Once he left the fourth quarter against the Bengals, the Bengals defense sacked Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill twice and forced two defensive touchdowns created by heavy pressure. The Bears defense has 18 sacks in four games and could add a big number to that total at the end of Sunday.
Make Jordan Howard happy and give him the ball
Running back Jordan Howard was not happy with his playing time in week four as he recorded 11 carries for just 25 yards and one target. One of the reasons to why Tarik Cohen was more involved in the game plan than Howard was against Tampa Bay was due to Cohen downfield playmaking ability.
Tampa Bay’s defense looked loss seeing Cohen being used on deep passing routes out of the backfield as Cohen caught seven passes for 121 yards and a touchdown. On Sunday, the Dolphins defense will be looking to guard against Cohen deep which could provide more carries to the bruising back in Howard.
The Bears starting running back is due for a big game as he has yet to record a 100-yard rushing game this season.
Win the chess match between old coworkers
One great thing about Sunday’s matchup is that both coaching staffs are familiar with one another. Dolphins head coach Adam Gase was the Bears offensive coordinator in 2015 and was replaced in 2016 by Dowell Loggins who held the position for two seasons before becoming Gase’s quarterback’s coach in 2018.
Both are familiar with the current Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and his defensive schematics as he is with their offensive styles. When Gase was interviewing for head coaching openings, his desired defensive coordinator if hired was Fangio. It could make for a really interesting battle throughout the game as they try to outguess one another play calling wise.
Turn Hard Rock Stadium into Soldier Field South Beach
It will be another road game which could have a strong Bears fan presence eliminating home field advantage for the Dolphins. In week three, the crowd for the Bears-Cardinals game in Arizona seemed almost split in half. In road games against AFC opponents especially there always appears to be a high number of Bears fans in attendance.
In 2015 against the Kansas City Chiefs, 2016 against the Indianapolis, and last season against the Cincinnati Bengals all are recent examples. Having crowd noise in their favor could be a valuable asset for a Bears defensive facing a Dolphins offensive line lacking continuity.