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Five Reasons the Pats Should Fear the Bears

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Robbie Gould

    The Patriots may be good, but that doesn't mean the Bears should curl up in the fetal position in fear. In fact, maybe they need to fear the Bears. Here's why:

    1. The Bears' running defense
    : The Patriots average around 111 yards per game on the ground. They're not overly reliant on the run, but BenJarvus Green-Ellis, their top running back in both yardage and number of name is a key part of the offense. That's good news for the Bears, who are experts at stopping the run, allowing just 84.9 yards per game. Having Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher bear down on the Pats' runner is a pretty good reason to be fearful.

    2. Soldier Field: Seeing as the Bears are used to its quirks, our little park on the lake can be the twelfth man. Between questionable turf, swirling winds off of Lake Michigan and a rabid home crowd, Soldier Field can be tough to get used to, and the Patriots haven't played there since 2002. (The Bears last home game against the Patriots was in Champaign.) Add to that the forecast is calling for wind, snow, and a high of 24 degrees. They may think they know winter in New England, but just wait until they get a load of the Midwest.

    3. Bennett and Forte at their best: Two of the Bears biggest offensive weapons have been playing well, to put it mildly. Earl Bennett has become one Jay Cutler's favorite targets, picking up 104 yards against the Lions. Matt Forte is a multi-faceted threat, with 748 yards on the ground (more than Green-Ellis) and 389 yards by the air. With these two on fire, the Bears will be hard to snuff out.

    4. Jay Cutler? Jay Cutler! The Bears QB no longer resembles the sullen underachiever from earlier this season. He's turning into a mature team player who is as likely to turn to the run as he is to throw a pass. His improvement since the bye week is visible, getting 10 touchdowns but just three interceptions in the past five games. The Patriots have the second-worst passing defense in the league, meaning it could be a big week for J-Cutty.

    5. Robbie Gould: The Bears longtime, reliable kicker is improving with age. His crucial 54-yard field goal against the Lions was his best ever. He and the Bears are more likely to go for 50+ yard field goals, something they rarely did earlier in his career. He's 3-4 on kicks over 50 yards this season. Not only that, he's in his fifth season with the Bears and is familiar with the strangely swirling winds of Soldier Field. In a close game, he could be the secret weapon.