Tuesday was a day of both good and bad news for the Chicago Bears and their remaining schedule.
Bad news came in the form of guard Kyle Long being sidelined for six to eight weeks with a foot injury suffered in the team’s win against the Jets. The good news came as several of their upcoming opponents made changes to their rosters due to trades and injuries showing good fortune for the Bears.
Their next opponent will be the Buffalo Bills, who lost their current starting quarterback Derek Anderson late in Monday night’s loss against the New England Patriots to a concussion. Anderson has been ruled out this Sunday’s game against the Bears as the Bills are already without first-round pick Josh Allen sidelined with an arm injury.
Quarterback Nathan Peterman will be forced to start the game for the Bills which will bold well for the Bears as Peterman has been historically bad in his few starts for Buffalo. Last season against the Los Angeles Chargers, he threw five interceptions in the first half and was benched. This season, he has attempted 32 passes and has been intercepted four times and has just one touchdown pass.
Following the Bills game, the Bears will have three consecutive games against divisional opponents including two against the Detroit Lions in a span of 11 days.
The Lions were active at the trade deadline as they traded starting wide receiver Golden Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles. The move is seen to hurt the Lions rather than help them this season as Tate was one of Matthew Stafford’s most reliable targets.
Without Tate, Detroit’s top two wide receivers now will be Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay limiting the threats against the Bears defense. With Tate, the Lions offense has averaged 21 points against the Bears defense and has won five of the last six contests.
It is just one less player defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has to prepare for in the next few weeks as the Lions offense is at its best when Stafford has more targets in the passing game. Tuesday’s trade deadline saw several of the Bears upcoming opponents make trades in which they were giving up starting talent for draft picks. The New York Giants traded away several members from their starting defensive lineup and the Green Bay Packers traded away Pro-Bowl safety HaHa Clinton-Dix.
These two defenses are losing key starters at a time where Chicago’s offense is getting better as they have averaged 33 points in their last four games.
So far this season, the Bears have been fortunate to either have the opposing team play two quarterbacks or play without a key starter at one of the skill position. Against the Packers, Buccaneers, and Cardinals, the defense faced two quarterbacks either because of injury or coach’s decision.
The Dolphins, Patriots, Seahawks, and Jets all played the Bears without one or more their season-opening starters on offense. This past Sunday against the Jets, New York was without their starting running back and their two top wide receivers.
Outside of Long’s and Adam Shaheen’s injuries this season, luck has been on the team’s side as they have got some break against all their opponents faced and possibly going forward. Although they have been lucky, Chicago still has yet to fully capitalize. In their last game against a backup quarterback in Miami, the Bears lost in overtime.
In Buffalo on Sunday, it will be up to the Bears once again to take advantage of the continued good fortune they keep receiving.