Two 1-3 teams in the Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs will face off on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
So far this season, the Chiefs are 0-1 on their home field, but last season they posted a 6-2 record there. Losers of three straight, Kansas City will be coming out fired up for this game against a Bears team that is 1-2 in that span.
The last meeting between these two teams came in 2011 when Kansas City beat the Bears 10-3 at Soldier Field in a game where Caleb Hanie was under center.
A total of nine players combined return for this matchup as Jay Cutler, Matt Forte and Robbie Gould are the three from the Bears and Justin Houston, Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali, Jamaal Charles, Dustin Colquitt and Eric Berry are the six from Kansas City.
Dating back to 1987, the Bears and Chiefs have exchanged wins over the last seven games of this series. The Bears own a 2-3 record at Arrowhead Stadium with their last victory coming in 1993 when Jim Harbaugh was the Bears quarterback and Marcus Allen was still a great running back for Kansas City.
In this game, Andy Reid will go up against a coach that he struggled against since arriving in Kansas City two years ago.
Former Broncos coach and current Bears coach John Fox is 4-0 since 2013 head-to-head with Reid. Different players and different teams are set to take the field in this matchup, but Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase could have an edge against a reeling Chiefs team.
Here’s a breakdown of what both teams are thinking heading into Sunday’s 12th all-time meeting.
What the Chiefs are thinking
Jamaal Charles continues to be a workhorse for the Chiefs in his eighth NFL season. The star back already has 457 total yards and five touchdowns (4 rushing, 1 receiving) this season. He has rushed for 1,000 yards in five of his six seasons as the starter; the only year he didn’t was in 2011 when he suffered a season-ending ACL injury.
Charles has 20 receptions for 151 yards in four games. He caught 40 balls all of last year and his career high of 70 came in 2013. He’s topped 100 yards in all but one game this season (Week 3- GB), so look for Kansas City to get him the ball as much as possible.
Outside of Charles, the Chiefs have two very talented pass catchers in wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and tight end Travis Kelce. Maclin, who came over this off-season via free agency is currently the team’s leader in receptions (28) and yards (398). Kelce is first with two touchdown grabs.
Kansas City’s quarterback Alex Smith will have those two big targets along with Charles to help exploit the rebuilding Bears’ defense. Since Smith’s three-touchdown performance in Week 1, he has thrown only one touchdown compared to three interceptions.
On defense, the Chiefs playmakers will be asked to make plays. Leading sack man Justin Houston, who has three this season and led the league with 22 last season is going to be featured.
Kanas City is tied for ninth with nine sacks. However, the defense ranks 29th in total defense allowing 397 yards a game and 31st with 31.3 points per game surrendered.
These numbers are deceiving as they’ve dropped three straight to current undefeated teams Denver, Green Bay and Cincinnati, allowing 35 points per game during that stretch. This is an important game for the Chiefs at home to help set the tone defensively.
What the Bears are thinking
As for the Bears’ defense which has six sacks over the past two games, they have to be licking their chops against a weak Kansas City offensive line. The Chiefs have allowed a league-high 19 sacks and the 10th most quarterback hits (34).
Smith was sacked five times in Cincinnati last Sunday, including three times in the first half alone. He was sacked a career-high 45 times last season, but it doesn’t look to be much better this season as Kansas City is struggling to protect up front.
Defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins leads the way with three sacks which is a surprise to just about everyone. Off-season signing, outside linebacker Pernell McPhee has two as he looks to be everything he was made about to be when inked in May.
Veteran Jeremiah Ratliff is set to return for this one after serving a three-game suspension and battling through a high ankle sprain. Ratliff’s presence will be huge alongside Jenkins, Ego Ferguson and rookie Eddie Goldman as they look to slow down Charles.
The safety spot could be where the Chiefs look to attack as two rookies will be starting there with Adrian Amos and Harold Jones-Quartey. Antrel Rolle’s ankle injury opened the door for Jones-Quartey, who should draw the start with Demontre Hurst seeing time as well.
On offense, the Bears are still lacking big time playmakers outside of running back Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett. Wide receiver Marquess Wilson is fresh off a career-best performance with six grabs and 80 yards against the Raiders. Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) is likely going to be inactive for a fourth straight game while Eddie Royal (ankle) is banged up but should play.
Three names to keep in mind are wide receivers Josh Bellamy and Cameron Meredith and running back Jacquizz Rodgers. Bellamy only saw 26 snaps last week while Meredith was in on just 14, but the two receivers could be used often in this one. As for Rodgers, he’s a solid pass catcher and a player they could use alongside Forte.
The Bears’ offensive line seems to always be changing as left tackle Jermon Bushrod is out for the second consecutive game. Charles Leno will draw the start again while it appears rookie center Hroniss Grasu is on track to start at center with Matt Slauson going back to left guard. With Patrick Omameh (ankle) highly questionable, Grasu in the middle is the best option for this week.
Bears – OUT: Left tackle Jermon Bushrod (concussion)
DOUBTFUL: Safety Antrel Rolle (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: Quarterback Jay Cutler (hamstring), wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (hamstring), wide receiver Eddie Royal (ankle), cornerback Alan Ball (groin), cornerback Sherrick McManis (hamstring), defensive lineman Jeremiah Ratliff (ankle), defensive lineman Will Sutton (elbow), linebacker Shea McClellin (elbow), guard Patrick Omameh (ankle), quarterback Jimmy Clausen (back) and Tayo Fabuluje (ankle)
PROBABLE: Punter Pat O’Donnell (knee)
Chiefs – OUT: Linebacker Josh Mauga (groin/Achilles)
QUESTIONABLE: Wide receiver Albert Wilson (shoulder)
PROBABLE: Tight end Travis Kelce (groin/thumb) and tight end James O’Shaughnessy (hand)
Final Score Prediction
Chiefs 27, Bears 20
Although I think the Bears could knock off Kansas City on the road, the Chiefs simply have too many pass rushers that will take advantage of the banged up Bears’ offense line.
If the Bears want to win this one, Jay Cutler will have to have a career game. Cutler is 3-1 against Kansas City with eight touchdowns, four interceptions and a 96.2 passer rating. This could be a deciding game for Cutler’s future with the Bears.
Season predictions: (3-1)
Mainly sunny. High 83F. Winds SSW at 10 to 20 mph.
A look ahead
The Bears travel to rival Detroit next Sunday before a bye in Week 7.
Read up on the five Bears players you should keep an eye on in Sunday’s game in Kansas City, here.
Thoughts on the Bears-Chiefs Week 5 matchup? Make sure to weigh in on the comment section below.
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