This is the game the Bears need to win to silence their critics for once and for all. Beating the Patriots, would legitimize the Bears' success.
Tom Brady will be making his first visit to Soldier Field. The forecast for Sunday is a high of 23 with 70 percent chance of snow and 27-mph winds. If any quarterback can be successful in Bears Weather, Brady can.
We saw the Patriots light up a Jets defense that likes to blitz. The
Bears' Rush Men, fortunately enough, get enough pressure on their own
where the Bears don't need to blitz to get pressure. If the defensive
line can make Tom Brady uncomfortable enough, the back seven will have
opportunities to make plays on the ball. The Bears defense will have to
intimidate and punish Patriot players coming across the middle while
Brady dinks and dunks.
The 1st Phase faces a Patriots defense that doesn't rush the quarterback
well. They rank 27th in sacks with 18. If Jay Cutler can get time in the pocket, he'll be able to make plays
down field and with his feet. In the games since the bye, Mike Martz has
used a balanced formula to his play calling.
If weather does become a
factor, the game will be played on the ground. In the past 4 games, the
Bears have average over 127 yards on the ground. During the same span,
the Patriots have given up an average of 107 rushing yards and are 19th
overall in the category.
Here are the key matchups the Bears need to win:
Tom Brady vs. Brian Urlacher
The last time these two played against each other, Brady made his best
Walter Payton impersonation by juking Urlacher to run for a pivotal 3rd
down. Urlacher must the defense lined up properly to limit Brady's
Wes Welker vs. DJ Moore
Welker is Brady's go-to-guy and is often lined up in the slot. Moore
must be able to make a plays on the ball and not allow Welker to slip
out of his grasp.
Matt Light vs. Julius Peppers
Light will get help from Logan Mankins but it's nothing that Peppers
can't handle. It's up to the other Rush Men to win their individual
matchups against an offensive line that is peaking.
Vince Wilfork vs. Roberto Garza
The Bears OL have had trouble against monster defensive tackles
(Ndamukong Suh and Albert Haynesworth). Wilfork has been playing well lately and fits the bill. The Patriots rank 31st overall
in defense and don't rush the quarterback well. The Bears offensive line need to make sure they keep Cutler standing upright.