A look at four keys for the Bears to beat the Kansas City Chiefs.
1. Control the clock
Against the Seattle Seahawks a few weeks ago, with Jimmy Clausen under center against one of the top defenses in the NFL, the Bears brought out several combinations of the jumbo package. They brought in additional tight ends and offensive tackles to really focus on the run game and get Matt Forte involved in the game early. The plan worked for them, for the most part, as they controlled the clock and the tempo of the entire first half. But it was just a little too conservative and didn’t lead to points. With Jay Cutler back in the lineup, the Bears should have a little more freedom of choice in their game plan, but their strategy should remain the same as it has all season: ground and pound, protect the football, keep the chains and the clock moving.
2. Maintain discipline and limit penalties
The Bears faced the Seahawks a couple weeks ago in one of the most hostile environments in the NFL. Well, things don’t get much better this week as they head to the other most obnoxious arena in the league, Arrowhead Stadium. It’s going to be loud and difficult to hear, thus, the Bears will have difficulty hearing Cutler calling the signals. They need to maintain their concentration and discipline and stay out of penalty trouble or it’ll be that much more difficult to move the chains.
3. Keep Jamaal Charles within the second level
Jamaal Charles is arguably the most dangerous running back in the NFL. He averages a whopping 5.2 yards per carry, and he’s a mess trying to contain in the open field. As such, the Bears can’t let him escape the second level of the defense — the linebackers — or else he could be off to the races to the end zone. Charles, like the Bears’ Forte, is also a good receiver out of the backfield and is integral in the Chiefs’ passing game. He’s third in the NFL among running backs with 20 receptions.
4. Don’t lose sight of Travis Kelce
If you’re not a fantasy football owner, you probably don’t know the name of Travis Kelce. He’s one of the more unheralded tight ends in the NFL but is just as dangerous as, if not more than, almost every other player at the position. Obviously New England’s Rob Gronkowski is in a class of his own, but Kelce is right there at the top of the next list of tight ends. Kelce is averaging a little over 5 catches per game for more than 73 yards per contest, which is second only to Gronk. He’s a big focal point in their offense and could give the Bears’ defense fits if he’s not locked down by a safety-linebacker bracket.