If the win over the Eagles was a STATEMENT game, then this game against the Patriots is a TEST. A win over the Patriots will silence all the critics. All good teams are measured by how they play against Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.
Sunday's forecast call for temperatures in the 20s, a blustery wind and a 40% chance of snow. What is typically Bear Weather means nothing because the Patriots play in the same conditions but the difference (if any) will be the turf on Soldier Field.
While they haven't played a perfect football game, all 3 Phases have played well enough to win 9 games. All 3 Phases will have to be nearly perfect this Sunday.
Since the bye, the offense has been scaled down from the volume-offense Mike Martz is known for to a more conservative and balanced approach. As a result, the offense is 36 of 68 on third down conversions (52.9%) over last 5 games, second highest percentage in NFL and have controlled most of the clock.
Look for Jay Cutler to continue to rely on those he trusts the most. Cutler has been looking Earl Bennett's way but expect the Patriots' to game plan for him.
Look for Greg Olsen to come up big in the game and keep the chains moving. Olsen, who was rumored to be traded to the Patriots in the offseason and despite heavy criticism for his blocking, is improved and is becoming an all-around tight end. The Patriots' linebackers will have a tough time covering Olsen as he is more athletic, has wide receiver skills and has Cutler's trust.
While I'm confident in the Bears' defense, I don't know if they'll be able to completely shut down Tom Brady and the Patriots' offense. The Bears have a bend don't-break-defense and are susceptible to long drives but usually stiffen up in the red zone. Brady is a patient quarterback and will dink-and-dunk all day.
Although Brady isn't the most mobile of quarterbacks, he does an excellent job of sliding in the pocket to escape the pass rush. The Rush Men will need to do their best in making Brady uncomfortable in the pocket.
Belichick is one of the best coaches of all time so don't expect him to kick to Devin Hester. Hester almost made history last Sunday but was tripped up by the Lions punter. He's hungry and wants the record.
Robbie Gould may play a huge role in Sunday's game. He's one of the most clutch in history and bad weather and horrible field conditions don't seem to affect him.
Bring the noise!!!