The New England Patriots and Chicago Bears will meet for the 12th time ever today at frigid Soldier Field. The Patriots lead the all-time series 7-4. The Patriots beat the Bears 17-13 the last time these teams met in 2006.
Patriots QB Tom Brady got past Brian Urlacher in that game and you can see that in the picture unfortunately. Urlacher won’t be letting Tom Brady by this time.
Brady has been great all season for the Patriots, but in his last seven games he has thrown 17 touchdowns versus no interceptions. The Bears have to stop Brady if they can’t find ways to do that, they will be in trouble.
Sticking with quarterbacks, Bears QB Jay Cutler has been much improved during their five game winning streak. He knows when to take a sack, scramble for a first down and to throw the ball away. He is not making the same mistakes as he did earlier in the season.
The running attack with Matt Forte and Chester Taylor has been improving as of late and will be important today when the winds will be evident.
If the Bears offense can keep the Patriots offense off the field by sustaining drives, then the Bears should be able to come away with the victory. If not then the Patriots will be able to put up a lot of points.
I said this match-up of two 5’9″ play makers would have to be monitored earlier this week. D.J. Moore has four picks and Wes Welker has seven touchdowns. Moore needs to be able to at least contain Welker because in the red zone Welker has been a beast. Moore against Welker is a match-up everyone needs to pay attention to.
Bears offensive line v.s. Patriots defensive line
The battle of the trenches will be so important for the Bears in this one. The offensive line gives up sacks early in games, but seems to get it together once it progresses. The Patriots defensive line isn’t that good and the Bears offensive isn’t either, but they need to step up if they want the best Jay Cutler against the Patriots today. Protecting Cutler and opening up lanes for Forte will be important in this cold game. When Jay Cutler has a QB rating of at least 100, his teams are 19-0.
Bears Defense against the Patriots Tight End’s
Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski have been surprises this season. Both of those tight ends have been weapons that the Patriots use often. They are big tight ends who know how to get into open space. The Bears linebackers will have their hands full with these two. LB Nick Roach will be playing for the injured LB Pisa Tinoisamoa, so hopefully he makes some plays.
Players Who Will Step Up:
1) Earl Bennett- He has been a beast as of late, making big catches when he is called upon. Jay Cutler and him are really thriving together, Bennett will be looked for on third downs today.
Prediction: 6 catches, 56 yards.
2) Israel Idonije- He has seven sacks this season and a lot of it has to do with the addition of Julius Peppers. If Peppers can get pressure on Brady, Idonije will have more success bringing him down in the backfield. Look for Idonije to have a big game.
Prediction: 5 tackles, 1 sack.
3) Devin Hester- He is looking to break Brian Mitchell’s all time record of 13 return touchdowns. Look for Hester to either have a big day on kick returns or on offense. He wants to give the Bears good field position and he can do that if he returns well or the Patriots choose to kick away from him.
Prediction: 35 yards per kick return, 4 receptions for 50 yards.
I believe this might be the toughest match-up this season for both teams. The Patriots have a great offense and the Bears have a great defense, even though some have said the Bears have played mediocre teams this season, this game will be a great match-up. Urlacher will definitely be looking for Brady all day long. Expect a battle to the finish in this cold match-up in the windy city.