Five keys to Bears-Rams tilt

As kickoff approaches for the highly-anticipated Chicago Bears-Los Angeles Rams matchup at Soldier Field Sunday night, here are five keys to watch as the Bears try to make a statement.

  1. Contain Rams RB Todd Gurley…Gurley leads the NFL with 19 touchdowns this season and 1175 yards. He’s a throwback to the great running backs of yesterday, possessing a lethal dose of size, power, and speed. Not to be sacrilegious, but some observers have mentioned Gurley in the same sentence as the late, great Walter Payton.

Gurley will surely get his share of touches and yards, but the Chicago defense needs to prevent him from ripping          off a game-changing play. As good as the Bears attack unit has been this season, they’ve struggled stopping the             run in all four of their losses.

2. Prevent Aaron Donald from being a game-wrecker…Donald enters the game leading the NFL with 16.5 sacks and         has garnered at least two sacks in each of his last three contests.  The Bears interior of center Cody Whitehair               and guards James Daniels and Bryan Witzmann will have their hands full.  Daniels is still learning in his rookie          while Witzmann has struggled trying to fill the spot vacated by the injured Kyle Long.  For a Chicago offense that       doesn’t run the ball effectively and needs to protect quarterback Mitch Trubisky, this spells danger.

3. Reignite the pass rush…OLB Khalil Mack has been relatively quiet the last two games and must make his                      presence felt against a talented and experienced Rams offensive line. Sunday night’s contest would be a great                time for fellow ‘backer Leonard Floyd to show up.  Now healthy, Floyd has been more active in recent weeks, but         needs to make a more immediate impact as a pass rusher for the Bears defense to truly become feared.

4. A turnover free game from Mitch Trubisky…Will Trubisky be rusty in his return to action?  Head coach Matt                 Nagy and Trubisky spoke of their confidence of the second-year signal caller’s health, but the proof will be on the         field against Los Angeles defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and his aggressive Rams defense.

5. Take an early lead…The Bears play best when they take early command and can dictate the game flow.  It opens           up  their playbook on offense and provides the defense with a cushion to become more daring and force turnovers.

Extra Points: The Bears and Rams haven’t played since November of 2015…Chicago has won five of the last six games between the two clubs and lead the overall series 52-35-3…RB TARIK COHEN set career-highs in receptions (12), rec. yards (156) & scrimmage yards (186) & threw TD pass in Week 13. Is 1st NFL RB with 12+ catches & 150+ rec. yards in single game since 2013 (SHANE VEREEN, 12/8/13 with NE). Has TD in 4 of his past 5 at home… RB JORDAN HOWARD has 4 rush TDs in 4 career games vs. NFC West…WR ALLEN ROBINSON had 5 catches for 79 yards last week. Has 3 TD catches in his past 4 at home… Rookie WR ANTHONY MILLER had rec. TD in Week 13. Has TD catch in 3 of his past 4. Ranks 2nd among NFL rookies with 6 rec. TDs. ..TE ADAM SHAHEEN had TD catch in Week 13… BEARS lead NFL in TO differential (+12) & INTs (21) & tie for NFC lead with 16 FFs…. LB KHALIL MACK had 5 tackles & sack last week. In 5 home games with Chi., has 5 sacks, 3 FFs & FR…DT AKIEM HICKS had 6 tackles, sack & 1-yard TD rush last week. Is 2nd DL in franchise history (WILLIAM “THE REFRIGERATOR” PERRY) with rush TD…CB KYLE FULLER aims for his 3rd in row with INT & his 9th in row with PD. Leads NFL with 18 PD & ties for 2nd with 6 INTs.

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