If he gets on the same page as his WRs...
That's the key. At least two of those 4 picks were Cutler and the WRs not being on the same page, or the WR breaking the route.
When we have the ball, it's still going to be tough to run. Their DL > our OL, and they maintain decent run defense stats. We may do better than against the TTs, but I'd take the under on an o/u of us rushing 100 yards total. Frankly, if they want to get some ground game going, put Mendenhall in for the tween the tackles runs, because he'll consistently get the grunt yards, and if he gets iso on the LBs he's got the strength to break free that FWP doesn't. Four rushes last week and people are killing on the kid. Use Parker later in the game and as 3rd down back, when the DL is gassed.
Oh, and how do you gas them? Well, since BA won't just let Ben run the NH from the get, you have to hope we exploit weaknesses in their passing game. Sweed is out, and I actually thought Sweed-on-Vasher would have been a great matchup, but Wallace should be fine in that role. We'll probably see MacDonald a bit, too. Basically, throw at Vasher; repeat. He's not a starting CB.
They're going to bring some pressure off the edge with Ogunleye, who should be able to whup Colon for at least 2 sacks. If Tommie Harris is out at DT, we may get some breathing room to run inside, especially if Essex and Hartwig can combo whoever the replacement is. But Essex looked like a lit bag of shit in run pro last week, so we probably won't exploit that matchup effectively. I'd deactivate Spaeth and activate Johnson as an extra in-line blocker.
When they have the ball, we have Harrison matched up on old man Pace. Probably the best LT in the game... a decade ago. Expect Harrison to get all up in Cutler's grille, normal allowable holding notwithstanding. Elwood should likewise have a good matchup against Chris Williams, who I liked coming out of Vandy, but who looks out of position at RT. Williams is finesse, not power, and that means the Woodman Cometh, and I confidently predict he will simply throw Williams out the fuckin' way more than once.
Cutler doesn't mind making plays on the fly, so I'm not sure how many time's we'll sack him, but we can harry him into throwing some bad balls. If we don't get in his face, he will get the ball to the receivers, whether they can catch the ball or not. Their best bet is broken coverage a la Fitz in XLIII. Those WRs just don't have the polish to run routes that will take the short yardage, and they don't have the stones to take punishment from our secondary over the middle. Most important, on deep routes, even if our guys cover them "close enough," I expect we'll be disruptive.
Last week, Ratliff and Burnett were both inactive; with Pola out, Wexell reports those two will be on STs coverage of Hester. Smart move. It's doubly smart, because it also looks like we'll flood the backfield with speedy skeeters who will harass Hester and Bennett and whoever else they throw out there. Cutler simply hasn't got much to work with beyond Hester's speed, and there's no way they've "gotten on the same page" in a week. We may not get 4 picks, but they will struggle to get the passing game going.
The real weapons for the Bears are Olsen and Forte. We've had years of struggles against TEs, and Timmons would have been a superb matchup on Olsen with that speed. We'll see if Fox has any jets. I think Olsen and Forte could be the two top receivers this week, Olsen getting the 12-18 yard chunks over the middle, and Forte getting screens and passes to isolate him on the DBs. Forte will be a dangerous guy if he can get the ball in his hands as a receiver.
The Bears struggled against the Pack's new 3-4, and I would hope we can do as well. We did better against the Titans' rush this year over last, but Forte is capable of of having a big day. He just strikes me as the type of runner (multi-threat) who sometimes breaks out on us. If the front 3 play their game, we'll keep him bottled, especially if Fox and Farrior play smart. I think we'll see a few broken tackles from guys like Ike and Gay, though.
I think this will be slightly higher scoring than the TT game, but expect slow going for a while. Look for the usual Arians shit, and then Ben getting into a passing rhythm. Reminiscent of last week. Also, expect Cutler to go to Olsen and Forte a lot. Scores by quarter: 1Q: P 3, C 0; Q2: P10, C3; Q3 P 13, C 10; Q4 P 20, Chi 16.
We will, as always, make this more difficult than need be.
The wild card is the two potent special teams returners. If we contain Hester, we should win stright up. He may be the key to their offense, if they're consistently starting from the 40, say. Of course, Logan may do the same for us.