The Bears magic number is down to one after securing a win against the Jaguars, and the 49ers win over the Cardinals. Even though the Bears are the holders of the 3rd wildcard spot and the 7th playoff spot in the NFC, playoff football for the Bears still looks like a reach.
In order to make the playoffs, the Bears either need to secure a win against the Packers, or the Rams need to win against the Cardinals. The Rams will be without their $134 million quarterback, Jared Goff, in their game which is essentially a play-in game, where a win would punch their ticket to get in the playoffs.
What needs to happen for the Bears to pull off the upset?
In order to get into the dance the Bears need to control the game script, cash out in the red zone, and stop the run on early downs. During the Week 16 Vikings game, it was evident that controlling the game script was a point that the Bears wanted to make evident, by taking the ball after winning the coin flip. Controlling the game script is an aspect that is definitely overlooked, in every game that the Bears have won, the Bears have controlled the game script. Controlling the game script means that they need to play their football and not have to adjust the game plan so quickly, like they did in the Green Bay game.
The Bears struggled when they were forced to get away from the run/play action game that they have found so much success with. The Bears can control the game script by either going blow for blow and not turning the ball over, or making sure to get stops early. In addition to playing their own football, the Bears also benefit by keeping Aaron Rodgers out of rhythm and cold by not giving him the ball by having long drives.
Cashing in their trips to the red zone
The Bears cannot afford to fold in the red zone. They have two turnovers in the red zone in the past two weeks and if the Bears want a chance to win this game, they cannot afford to have these anymore. In the red zone, the Bears need to stay aggressive but also realize that if it isn’t there, then it isn’t there and they need to live to fight another day by kicking a field goal and moving on to the next drive.
Play action can help with this play style in the red zone because it’s relatively low risk. If nobody is open, you can throw the ball away and it also takes away the chance of a fumble in the pocket which was a huge blow and a huge reason why the Bears lost the Lions game.
Stop the run on early down situations
The Packers running on early down situations is something that I want the Packers to do because it’s simply keeping Aaron Rodgers out of the picture. The Bears have struggled at times with the run in 2020, where they are a very “middle of the pack” run defense. The Bears rank 14th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game but have also shown their best work at times against the best.
They held Derrick Henry and Dalvin Cook, two of the league’s best backs, to 296 yards in 3 games but only 3.94 yards per carry. This is more than a yard and 2 tenths less than Henry’s normal yards per carry and more than one yard less than Dalvin Cook’s normal yards per carry both in 2020. By stopping the run on early downs it can allow the Bears to send pressure as the Packers try to work themselves out of second and third and long situations.