The Chicago Bears’ defense has been one of the big stories in the NFL so far this season, and they could have another chance to shine on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
The Bears, who are 1-1 and are looking to climb above the .500 mark for the first time since 2014, will be looking to make some big plays against a team that has scored just six points and is hobbled by injuries.
The big injury for Bears fans to pay attention to is that of right tackle Andre Smith, who will miss the game due to an elbow injury. That injury means John Wetzel will be facing off against Khalil Mack, and with the way the new Bears acquisition has been playing through two weeks, Wetzel and quarterback Sam Bradford could be in for a long day.
The Bears as a team have 10 sacks already this season, and surprisingly, Bradford has only been sacked three times so far this season. That number could change drastically when facing Mack and the Bears’ other talented pass rushers, including Akiem Hicks and Leonard Floyd.
On defense, the Cardinals will have to rely on their secondary to take away options from Mitchell Trubisky, as star cornerback Patrick Peterson will be tasked with slowing down the team’s passing game.
Aside from that, the Cardinals have struggled in keeping opponents out of the end zone, and a real key for them against Chicago will be to limit the Bears when they are running so-called “scripted” plays at the beginning of the first and third quarter.
In those sequences, Trubisky looks comfortable, running through reads and checking out of plays with confidence, but in the middle and end stages of games when he is forced to improvise a bit more, he still looks like he’s learning Matt Nagy’s playbook.
A “bend-but-don’t-break” approach by the Cardinals could be the key to slowing down the Bears’ offense, and it will be interesting to see what kind of blitz packages and coverage schemes they put together to make that happen.