Surging Chicago Bears Seek to Extend Streak with Win in L.A.

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The surging Chicago Bears take their potent pass-rush West to take on the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football in Week 7. This is among their stiffest challenges to date. L.A. boasts the top-ranked rushing offense in DVOA in the NFL, per Football Outsiders. Chicago’s run defense has been the topic of many discussions, but they’re actually 11th in DVOA. This is just one battle to watch in what has been a tough series over the last couple of years.

Bears Surging, Seek to Keep Winning

Two of the Very Best

Make no mistake about it, this game will be heavily decided by two of the best in the business in Aaron Donald of the Rams and Khalil Mack of the Bears. The former leads the league in sacks (the Rams are fifth as a team) and is third in ESPN’s Pass Rush Win Rate among defensive tackles. Mack is fifth (tied) in the NFL with 4.5 sacks. He’s also 10th in Pass Rush Win Rate, and third in Run Stop Win Rate among EDGE defenders.

They will have their work cut out for them; both teams are in the top-10 in sack rate. Nick Foles has been sacked four times in 152 attempts while Jared Goff has only been brought down seven times in 190 dropbacks.

They speed things up for the quarterback making things easier for these secondaries, both of which have been locking down opposing receivers on the outside. The Rams Jalen Ramsey and Darious Williams are holding quarterbacks to completion percentages in the mid-50s. Their “weakness” is Troy Hill in the slot allowing better than 78 percent of passes thrown in his coverage to be completed.

It’s similar to the Bears. Kyle Fuller and Jaylon Johnson who are both allowing quarterbacks to complete around 46 percent of throws their way. Just as it is with L.A., and really any nickel back, Buster Skrine in the slot is where you want to attack this secondary. He’s allowing 66.7 percent completion; better than his Rams counterpart but still much higher than his teammates.

 

Passing the Eye Test

Foles might have the upper hand in that he already gets the ball out in a hurry, ranking among the shortest times to throw and lowest yards per attempt averages. We can expect to see more of the same as he will likely look to avoid the tight perimeter coverage of Ramsey and Williams, so maybe we finally get that Anthony Miller breakout game. Chicago should also focus once again on David Montgomery. The Rams run defense is bottom third in DVOA. They’ve faced the seventh-most targets to backs and allowed the fifth-most catches too.

Allen Robinson could be in for a quiet night being shadowed by Ramsey. He has just nine catches for 57 scoreless yards in two meetings between the two former Jacksonville Jaguars. He had half as many catches and just six fewer yards in a down game against the Carolina Panthers in Week 6.

Goff is enjoying a bounceback after a rough 2019. In addition to remaining upright, he is completing passes at a career-high 67.4 percent clip. The Bears represent the best pass rush Goff has seen so far. His line is third in pass blocking DVOA and has allowed Goff to have one of the highest yards per attempt averages at 8.3 yards per pass. San Francisco’s injury-riddled group didn’t bring him down. But they made his life miserable, leading to him throwing for the fewest yards per attempt this season.

Cooper Kupp is the slot receiver for L.A. and is Goff’s security blanket; leading the team in targets, catches, and yards. He’s big for a slot, standing 6-foot-2, which makes Skrine’s job that much tougher. Tight ends Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett are the Rams biggest threats, literally and figuratively. The duo has combined for 29 catches and 390 yards with Higbee adding three touchdowns for good measure. Chicago has allowed 63 percent completion and three touchdowns to tight ends.

 

Familiar Faces, New Places

The rematch between Robinson and Ramsey isn’t the first or only reunion. We have been hitting on the Bears games featuring so many connections with their opponents on this “reckoning tour”. From facing the Giants for the third year in a row to Foles being reunited with Frank Reich in Week 4. Even facing Teddy Bridgewater (whom the Bears pursued in free agency) and former-Bear Mike Davis in Week 6.

This week it’s a pair of EDGE defenders in Leonard Floyd and Robert Quinn. Floyd is one-shy of his 2019 sack total already and playing his all-around game. Quinn has been an expensive part-time player so far albeit an impactful one. It will be interesting to see who has a bigger impact on this one.

 

Can Surging Bears Extend Streak?

Chicago is entering a telling stretch of games. We have been saying that for the last three weeks, though. Their next three opponents (Rams, New Orleans Saints, and Tennessee Titans) all made the playoffs last season and look primed to return this season. It’s great the Bears were able to build up a little cushion. But coming out of this next stretch before the bye at 2-2 or even 3-1 (they play Minnesota Week 10) would go a long way solidifying their place among the contenders in the NFC. Going 1-3 or worse in this stretch and all the same old questions will dominate the headlines yet again.

 

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