The Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams will clash for the 91st time ever on Sunday afternoon.
The Bears crushed St. Louis in a Week Three meeting last season as the Chicago defense held the Rams to 160 yards and forced two turnovers.
This time around the Bears (6-4), winners of two of their last three games will battle the Rams (4-6) on their home turf where the weather and bad grass won't play to their advantage.
The Rams have weapons on offense including rookies Zac Stacy and Tavon Austin. Stacy has been stellar since earning the starting gig, while Austin has showed plenty of big play potential lately.
The Bears have weapons on their side with talented receivers Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery playing very well. Matt Forte needs to be a big part of the game plan once again if the Bears want to succeed on Sunday.
This game will be a test for both teams. The Rams need it bad because they want to stay in the race and the Bears need a win as well.
Currently the NFC looks like this by seeds. No. 1, Seahawks (10-1), No. 2, New Orleans (9-2), No. 3, Detroit (6-4), No. 4, Philadelphia (6-5), No. 5, Carolina (7-3), No. 6, San Francisco (6-4), No.7, Arizona (6-4). The Bears are eighth in the conference, while the Rams are 12th.
Plenty of effort will be showcased on Sunday as both teams know what lies ahead in the playoff picture.
The Bears will be able to have success on offense with Josh McCown and their weapons. Especially against a vulnerable Rams pass defense.
The question remains can the Bears defense stop the Rams offense. Stacy will be a handful, but the fact remains that Kellen Clemens is not very good.
That could play in the Bears favor if they can generate pass rush from the front four. Devin Hester took some reps at cornerback with the depth lacking in the secondary.
Don't expect him to play at all, but the secondary needs to step up and play a steady game.
Bears- Linebacker Lance Briggs (shoulder), quarterback Jay Cutler (ankle) and defensive tackles Stephen Paea (toe) and Jeremiah Ratliff (groin) have all been ruled out of Sunday's game.
---Defensive end Shea McClellin and long snapper Patrick Mannelly both practiced all week and will start in St. Louis. McClellin returns from a hamstring injury, while Mannelly returns from a groin injury. Defensive back Isaiah Frey has a fractured hand, but will play after getting a full practice session in on Friday. Safety Craig Steltz (concussion) is questionable.
Rams- Guard Harvey Dahl (knee) and quarterback Brady Quinn (hip) have both been ruled out after not practicing this week. Cornerback Cortland Finnegan (eye) didn't practice all week and is considered doubtful.
The 26-year-old Texas A&M product was in on 59 of 62 offensive snaps a week ago, but it wasn't until overtime where he made his biggest impact. A 43-yard snag set the Bears up in Ravens territory and sealed the victory for Chicago. On the season, Black Unicorn has reeled in 42 catches for 469 yards and four touchdowns. However, he has combined for only 12 receptions over his last three games being held to under 50 yards receiving in the process. He needs a big game for the Bears to open things up in the middle of the field. Maybe "Ben Stiller and a mixture of Jesus" Josh McCown can deliver strikes to Bennett consistently on Sunday.
Although he only has two sacks on the season, he has been playing very well adjusting to a new position at defensive tackle. With Stephen Paea injured once again, Wootton will have to serve as the main defensive tackle next to rotational guys Landon Cohen and Christian Tupou. Wootton has to be that force in the middle especially since the Rams carry a very impressive back in Stacy. This is a big test for a Bears defense that is struggling against the run. Wootton has to make plays consistently if the Bears want to force the Rams to punt.
The 29-year-old Nebraska product made his second start of the season, racking up nine tackles on the day. He had two key horse collar penalties that really hurt the Bears defense. He has to be smarter and make better decisions along the sidelines. He was in the right position in the pass game, but in the run game he wasn't a great asset. He needs to help out as well because the Rams will pounding the ball way more than they pass, that was proven two weeks ago when Kellen Clemens only attempted 16 passes in a win over the Colts. This is a huge game for Bowman.
Final Score Prediction
Bears 24, Rams 13
NFC North Talk
Bucs (2-8) at Lions (6-4)
The Bucs have been playing much more competitive ball as of late, but the Lions have much more to play for. Anything can happen in this league, so it wouldn't shock me if the Bucs upended the Lions in a big game.
DET 35, TB 23
Vikings (2-8) at Packers (5-5)
Green Bay is a bad team as of late without Aaron Rodgers, but Minnesota has been awful. They have no identity on either side of the ball and their star running back Adrian Peterson is banged up. It should be close out of the gate, but expect the Packers to run away with it with a healthy dose of rookie back Eddie Lacy.
GB 27, MIN 17
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