The Los Angeles Rams will play one of their biggest games of the year in Week 11 when they host the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football. With this game being late in the season, playoff implications could be on the line as the Rams look to avenge the 2018 loss.
Week 1 – at Carolina, 1 p.m. ET – Opponent Preview
Week 2 – vs. New Orleans, 4:25 ET – Opponent Preview
Week 3 – at Cleveland, 8:20 p.m. ET (SNF) – Opponent Preview
Week 4 – vs. Tampa Bay, 4:25 p.m. ET – Opponent Preview
Week 5 – at Seattle, 8:20 p.m. ET (TNF) – Opponent Preview
Week 6 – vs. San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. ET – Opponent Preview
Week 7 – at Atlanta, 1:00 p.m. ET – Opponent Preview
Week 8 – vs. Cincinnati (in London), 1:00 p.m. – Opponent Preview
Week 9 – BYE WEEK
Week 10 – at Pittsburgh, 4:25 p.m. ET – Opponent Preview
Week 11 – vs. Chicago, 8:20 p.m. ET (SNF)
The Bears entered 2018 with a new coach and a new outlook. The team fired John Fox and brought in former Kansas CIty Chiefs offensive coordinator, Matt Nagy. With Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback, the Bears hoped Nagy could have a Sean McVay-like effect on the young quarterback. The defense also took on a new look as the team traded for former No. 5 overall pick, Khalil Mack.
After a one-point loss to the Green Bay Packers that saw an Aaron Rodgers-led offense score 21-points in the fourth quarter, the Bears bounced back to win their next three, improving to 3-1 as they went into the early bye week. An overtime loss to the Dolphins out of the bye and seven-point loss to the Patriots dropped the Bears back to .500 at 3-3.
That’s when the Bears went on a tear. Chicago won nine of its next ten games, including a 15-6 win over the Rams and two wins over the Vikings. The Bears’ only loss came to the New York Giants in overtime.
While the Bears were the hottest team in football, of its nine wins to close out the season, only three came against teams with winning records, and two of those came against the same Vikings squad.
Still, the Bears went into the postseason as the three seed and would host a playoff game for the first time since 2010. Hosting the Nick Foles-led and defending champion Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago struggled to score points. The Bears headed into the fourth quarter, trailing 10-6. A Cody Parkey field goal made it 10-9, and then the Bears finally got in the end zone with a touchdown pass from Trubisky.
Instead of taking the extra-points, Nagy decided to go for two to make it a seven-point game. The attempt failed, but still, the Bears lead 15-10. With 0:56 seconds remaining, Foles marched the Eagles down the field to score the team’s second touchdown of the day. A failed two-point conversion made it 16-15 with less than a minute remaining.
A long return by Tarik Cohen set the Bears up with good field position and then Trubisky took the Bears down to the 25-yard line, setting up for a 43-yard field goal. Parkey’s attempt was tipped, causing the ball to “double-doink’ off of the upright and crossbar and fall no-good.
Biggest Offseason Gaines/Losses
When it comes to the Bears offseason, it was all about restocking and making moves to help them take that next step and get over the hump. Clinton-Dix and Patterson come from winning organizations in Green Bay and New England.
Parkey getting cut was not a surprise, and moving on from Kevin White was a given. The team also traded away Jordan Howard for only a sixth-round selection to Philadelphia.
A Look at the Draft
Despite not having a first or second-round pick because of the Khalil Mack trade, the Bears made the most of their draft. David Montgomery out of Iowa State was the team’s first selection in the third round. He’ll be the team’s feature back. Landing an impact player like Montgomery late on day two is a bargain.
On day three, the Bears began by adding to their receiving depth and drafting Riley Ridley out of Georgia. General manager Ryan Pace addressed his need at cornerback in the sixth round and seventh rounds taking Duke Shelley and Stephen Denmark.
Outside of Montgomery, the draft class didn’t make headlines, but the Bears will have some pieces to work with for the future.
Biggest On Field Question
Can Trubisky Lead the Bears Where They’re Destined to Go?
The Chicago Bears have the talent to make a Super Bowl run. They were favored to win last year’s playoff game against the Eagles at home.
Trubisky made strides in year two, but his numbers remained pedestrian. His 2.8% interception percentage ranked eighth-worst in the league among quarterbacks to start 10 or more games, and his 12 interceptions were high as well. His 230 yards per game ranked 23rd in the NFL.
This is a team with a lot of talent – enough talent to win a championship. While the Bears don’t need a top-10 quarterback to win, they need one that can make plays when they need him to and give the defense a lead. Trubisky is going to have to take another step in his development if the Bears are to win a Lombardi in their 100th season.
Depth Chart Analysis
Quarterback: Trubisky remains the starter, but the Bears also have a good backup in Chase Daniel behind him.
Running Back: The Bears are very deep at running back. David Montgomery will be the feature back, but behind him is Cohen and Davis who bring excellent depth.
Left Tackle: Charles Leno Jr. was a seventh-round pick and has remained a consistent part of the offensive line. TJ Clemmings brings depth, even though he has never lived up to his pre-draft hype.
Left Guard: Cody Whitehair has been what the Bears had hoped in drafting him in the second round in 2016. Larsen will provide depth behind him.
Center: Whitehair was the center a season ago, but he and James Daniels will switch spots in 2019. With a year under his belt, Daniels should take the switch in stride.
Right Guard: For the first time since 2016, Long is heading into training camp at full health. Expect him to get back to the form from early on in his career. Larsen will be depth here as well as Joe Lowery.
Right, Tackle: Massie has started 46 games since arriving in 2016 and remains a consistent piece in the starting five.
Defensive End: Akiem Hicks is one of the best defensive linemen in the entire NFL. Bilal Nichols has a high ceiling and will look to take that next step in year two. Roy Robertson-Harris is a versatile player that could push Nichols for playing time.
Nose Tackle: Eddie Goldman, like Hicks, is one of the best in the game. The duo set the tone up front for the rest of the defense.
Defensive Back: Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara are a solid 1-2 duo on the outside. Skrine will come in and play nickel right away. The Bears added depth at cornerback in the draft. Eddie Jackson is one of the best safeties in the league and while losing Amos hurts, Clinton-Dix will step in.
Outlook for 2019
This is a team that is much like the Rams. They traded up to draft a quarterback with a defensive-minded coach that couldn’t develop quarterbacks. Last season they exceeded expectations with an offensive coach, but came up short in the postseason.
The “double-doink” has been playing in their heads all offseason, and the Bears are ready to put it behind them. This is a team that will content for an NFC Championship and maybe even a Super Bowl.