Last week, I screwed up. I put too much faith in a young QB with a somewhat arrogant Offensive Coordinator. I believed, based off of the little that we saw of him in the NFC Championship Game, that the good things Caleb Hanie did in that game out-weighed the bad. I was wrong. I should have been looking at the INTs and not the TD passes. Does Hanie have potential? Of course, but the same can be said of every QB in the league backing up a starter. Otherwise, why the heck are they in the league? My conclusions, which I came to via what I thought was sound reasoning turned out to be quite wrong. I hope I’m allowed to be wrong, as you never truly know which way a game will go.
With that in mind, let’s break down the Kansas City Chiefs. The poor Chiefs have been decimated by injuries this year, more so than just about any other team in the league. They don’t have the most injuries, but the injuries they have had have been to big name play-makers, the kind of losses that hurt. Players that wouldn’t normally expect to see much (if any) playing time have been thrust into starter roles, and it shows. This is a team that is playing hard but just can’t quite seem to get over the hump. This isn’t the week that it all comes together for the Chiefs, unfortunately for them. KC is basically a middle of the road team, in that they don’t particularly defend well against the run, (26th in yards allowed) are slightly above average against the pass, (12th in yards allowed) and overall tend to allow teams to score on them with relative ease. Thus far this season, they’ve given up 30 TDs: 10 rushing, 19 receiving, and 1 STs return. That’s pretty much right in the wheel house of the Bears.
Here are the keys to the game:
- I liked Martz’ game plan last week as far as mixing it up with Forte and Barber. Barber ran quite well, he is starting to show why the Bears picked him up. Using them both is proving to be effective, however I’d like to see Barber and Forte spell each other more often. I am afraid that Forte might finally be wearing down. (In fact, if you look at his numbers, you’ll see a scary trend: He’s averaging under 80 yards combined rushing/receiving a game over the last 3 weeks) So, as I said last week, I think Forte and Barber need to touch the ball around 35 times this game to win it. Last week they had a combined 22 rushing attempts. Hanie had an additional 5 rushing “attempts”, AKA “Oh crap, I gotta get out of here” panic runs. That means they threw the ball 36 times. 41 times if you count the times Hanie pulled the ball down and did his Forest Gump impression. You hear that, Martz? Let Forte and Barber do a lot of running this game and we’ll win. It won’t be flashy, your QB won’t have great stats, but seriously, no one is starting Hanie this week in their fantasy league anyway, so let him have a down game.
- Pressure Tyler Palko. He’s shown that he will make mistakes if you get pressure on him. Our defense can capitalize on these mistakes, as he frankly has not shown a very strong arm and his passes tend to sail on him. I get the feeling that he is on a short leash this week, even with Orton barely getting to know his new teammates, so there could be a neckbeard sighting this weekend if Palko stinks up the joint….and he probably will.
- Contain, or at least try to contain Tamba Hali. He is one of the most underrated pass rushers in the league. Hali has an amazing motor, he simply does not stop coming. The scary thing is when he gets to the QB, he tries to absolutely destroy them. Nothing dirty, just full speed make-you-wet-the-bed-in-fear punishing shots. The Bears will need to keep an eye on him, see where he’s lined up and use Forte, Barber, and maybe a second or even third tight end in to help block him. Or, if time permits, they could build a wall on his side of the field with a moat and some dragons, then he might be slowed down a little. Hali seriously worries me, if he tees off on Hanie a couple times, it’s going to be bad. Real bad.
- On defense, if they play the game they played against the Raiders, this will be an easy win. The D has played pretty well the past few weeks, and finally I get to say I’m not worried about them. Heck, it’s only taken 12 weeks, so good job guys.
- Special Teams are where we have the potential to shine, as usual. Devin and Johnny will probably do the “dual threat” kick return duties again, and Hester will hopefully get a chance to return a punt or 19. If he breaks one for a TD, then I could see this game getting blown wide-open.
That’s basically it, as I see it. The Bears need to protect Hanie by running the ball more than they did last week. Hanie needs to settle down and not come out all geeked up like a 5 year old who found mommy’s cocaine stash, and the defense needs to continue to bring it like they have been. Oh, and for the love of God, block Tamba Hali. Please. I’m begging you. We do not want to see what Josh “HALP! HALP!” McCown can do. Trust me on this.
Final score: Your Chicago Bears 24, Kansas City Chiefs 13