Even after last Sunday night’s tough loss against the Green Bay Packers, the Chicago Bears have a lot of things going for them as they head into Monday night’s game against the Seattle Seahawks.
There is talent all over the roster…the Bears just have to figure out how to utilize that talent and turn it into wins. That starts with the new coaching staff and head coach Matt Nagy. Hopefully, Sunday was a learning experience for everyone involved.
Monday night will be the first home game for the Bears in 2018. After a 0-1 start, the game against the Seahawks is a must win. Here are some things to keep an eye on.
1st Down: Tyler Lockett in the slot
The Seahawks best receiver Doug Baldwin will not play against the Bears due to a grade 2 MCL tear. That’s good news for the Bears for many reasons. In 2017, Baldwin was tied for eighth in receiving touchdowns. He has been one of the most consistent wideouts in the NFL over the last three years.
Baldwin also lines up in the slot quite a bit, which is an area the Bears defense has struggled in. Last year the Bears defense was in the bottom half of the league in terms of defending the slot in both completion percentage and touchdowns.
Randall Cobb torched the Bears in the slot for 133 yards and a 75-yard touchdown.
This week, the Tyler Lockett will see a decent amount of time in the slot for Seattle. Against the Broncos, Lockett played on 98 percent of the snaps on offense. Lockett ran 15 of his 21 routes in the slot. Expect him to see more time there this week.
The good news is the Bears only gave up six passing touchdowns at home last season. Yes, that’s right. Six passing touchdowns in eight games. Still, Lockett’s big play ability should not be overlooked.
Russell Wilson ➡️ Tyler Lockett
WIDE. OPEN. pic.twitter.com/GqwyNJWRcg
— Seattle Times Sports (@SeaTimesSports) September 9, 2018
2nd Down: Roquan Smith playing time
Speaking of defending the middle of the field, the Bears could use their rookie linebacker this week. Roquan Smith played just eight snaps against the Packers because the Bears wanted to be careful with his hamstring issue.
His playing time should be increased dramatically if the Bears want to win their first game of the season. Smith is excellent in coverage and can make big plays. Hell, he got a sack on his first play in the NFL. That’s impressive.
— NFLQuarterbackClub‘96 (@QBClub96) September 10, 2018
Nick Kwiatkowski was mediocre in coverage last week. That was evident after he gave up 56 yards when targeted, 32 coming after the catch.
Bottom line – the Bears need to play Smith this week.
3rd Down: Playing calling/Mitch Trubisky
The second half was a disaster in terms of play calling and the play of second-year QB Mitch Trubisky. To win games in the NFL, complete games have to be played. The hope is both Nagy and Trubisky can learn from their mistakes that occurred this past Sunday.
For starters, the play calling has to be much better, and more aggressive. The Bears got conservative for whatever reason. Could it be because they don’t fully trust Trubisky? I refuse to believe that, but it could be a possibility.
Trubisky looked very raw against the Packers. He missed some easy throws and reads that could have been the difference in the game. Again, the first quarter was great. From there though, things got ugly.
It will be interesting to see if Nagy, Trubisky and the rest of the offense can bounce back on Monday.
4th Down: Final Thoughts/Prediction
This is a game the Bears need to and should win. The Seahawks are a hot mess on both sides of the ball. Yes, they do have a top-five quarterback and the Bears need to be aware of that. Russell Wilson can make plays and win football games by himself.
In the end, though, I expect Khalil Mack and the rest of the Bears defense to have a big day against the Seahawks lackluster offensive line.
Last week, I got ripped apart after correctly picking the final score of the game.
Give me your predictions for tonight's #Bears game. I have the Packers winning a close one 24-23.
— Nick Petrusevski (@TLS_Petrusevski) September 9, 2018
Give me the Bears this week.
Bears 27 Seahawks 14
Pick Record: 1-0
Follow Nick on Twitter–Featured Photo Credit: Steve Dykes/Getty Images North America
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