The Chicago Bears have shown conclusively that they can beat the AFC West this season, but the rest of the NFL is a different story as they have gone 0-5 against other teams.
They’ll be looking to end that run of futility on Sunday when they take on the St. Louis Rams in what could be the final meeting between the teams in the Gateway City. Before they take the field, we have five players that will be key to the Bears’ chances of victory in the game.
Amos was one of the most notable players on the field Monday night against the San Diego Chargers, and he has been one of the biggest hits of the 2015 Draft for G.M. Ryan Pace. Amos is a physical safety that loves to deliver big hits, and he could prove to be a bright spot for a team in desperate need of playmakers on defense.
On Sunday, Amos will be tasked with helping stop the Rams’ potent running game, with Todd Gurley providing some stiff competition. Amos did a great job of chasing down Melvin Gordon and the Chargers’ receivers last week, but he’ll be in for an even bigger challenge in this one.
Bennett is a player that always figures prominently in the Bears’ system, but he could be more important than ever this week. With Eddie Royal already ruled out of the game and both Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte being listed as questionable, Bennett is going to be a critical safety valve for Jay Cutler and the Bears’ offense, and he’ll have to be up to the challenge against a physical Rams defense.
With the Rams’ running game, playing stout defense up the middle of the field is critical, and that all starts with Goldman. If he can clog up the areas between the tackles and force Gurley to the outside of the defensive line, the Bears can use a number of different tactics to contain him. If Goldman routinely gets beaten off the snap and shoved out of gaps, then the team’s linebackers and safeties could be in for a long afternoon in St. Louis.
It’s unclear at this point whether McPhee will be on the field this week, as he didn’t practice Friday and is listed as questionable on the injury report, but make no mistake: McPhee is still the straw that stirs the drink if he can play Sunday. He has been the lone bright spot on a pass rush that has been consistently inconsistent this season, and if he can get around the edges and create some havoc for Nick Foles to deal with, then the Bears have a good shot at winning this game.
It’s unclear whether Slauson will play at center or at left guard on Sunday, but his role will be a critical one in either case. The Rams are absolutely stacked up the middle of their line, led by tackle Aaron Donald, and they’ll be gunning for Cutler early and often in this game. If Slauson can hold his blocks and keep Cutler upright, then the Bears have a shot to move the ball. If he can’t, then Cutler may end up taking some big shots against a ferocious defense.