Former Vanderbilt teammates Jay Cutler and Earl Bennett return to Nashville.
Bears-Titans Game Preview- Your Boy Roy previews the game, video style. (Chicago Football Talk)
Bears-Titans Game Preview- A very nice preview of the game from Adam Oestmann. (Chicago Bears Huddle)
Bears-Titans Game Preview- A great job as always from Jeff Hughes previewing the Bears game (Da Bears Blog)
What To Watch For: Bears-Titans- Michael Wright with a position by position breakdown of Bears-Titans, and a very low-scoring prediction for the game. (ESPN Chicago)
Nuts & Bolts: Bears-Titans- Plenty of factoids on the Bears-Titans matchup. (ESPN Chicago)
Sick Bay: Bears Head To Tennessee With Nearly-Clean Bill Of Health- Alshon Jeffery remains out as expected, but every other Bear appears to be good to go for the Bears today. The Titans, meanwhile, have some banged-up players, particularly on the offensive line. They've already ruled starting right guard Leroy Harris. (CSN Chicago)
Know Your Opponent: Tennessee Titans- Dan Durkin with an in-depth look at the Titans. (CBS Chicago)
Bowen's Breakdown: 8-Man Box Against Chris Johnson- Matt Bowen with a great video breakdown of defending Chris Johnson. (CSN Chicago)
Durkin's Playbook: Titans Running Game Taking Shape- Dan Durkin breaks down the Titans' running game using All-22 film. (CBS Chicago)
Bears Must Improve On First Down- The Daily Herald's Bears beat writer, Bob Legere: "The Bears average just 4.19 yards on first-down plays. No NFL team is worse. One word can describe their performance.
'Awful,' quarterback Jay Cutler said. 'We see more second-and-10s probably than anyone in the league, second-and-8-plus at least. It’s tough. We’ve talked about it, getting off to a better start on first down, whether it is run or pass because third-and-6, 7, 8 is hard; and second-and-10 is hard, too.'"
Here's an idea on how to improve on first down: RUN THE BALL. Matt Forte looked terrific early on against the Panthers for example, giving the Bears a 7-0 lead early on. Then Mike Tice got pass-happy with the play-calling, and the Bears didn't see another lead until late in the fourth quarter.
The Bears have arguably the best 1-2 running back punch in the league with Forte and Michael Bush, and while the offensive line gets much deserved criticism, it's actually a rock-solid run-blocking group. This offense is built to do much better on first down. (Daily Herald)
Why Earl Bennett Needs To Get More Involved In The Offense- Matt Eurich explains why the Bears need to get the ball to wide receiver Earl Bennett more, something I couldn't agree more with. (Bears Backer)
Jay Cutler Must Be Better In First Three Quarters- Darren Doxey writes how Jay Cutler has been outstanding in the fourth quarter of games, but has been quite terrible in the other three quarters of games, and that will need to change for the Bears to go far in the playoffs.
"He (Cutler) currently leads the NFL in fourth quarter passer rating (132.0), completing 34 of 46 passes (74%) for 517 yards (15.2 yards per completion), six touchdowns and two interceptions. The closest QBs are Peyton Manning (119.6 rating) and Aaron Rodgers (110.6 rating)."
"What if I told you that Jay Cutler’s passer rating in the first half of games this season is 56.6? That’s the worst among starting quarterbacks in the NFL by at least ten points."
"When the Bears play teams that can really score, no matter what defense they are playing, Jay will have to get things going from the start. Against teams like the Texans, Packers, Falcons, or any good team they might play in the playoffs or Super Bowl, Jay has to get off the bus scoring points."
Doxey makes plenty of terrific such points throughout the article, so make sure to check it out. (Chicago Bears Huddle)
A Great Day Coming For Bears' Offense- Former Bears quarterback Jim Miller expects big things out of the Bears' offense today:
"For example, plays like bubble screens to Devin Hester have gashed Tennessee for huge yardage because one-on-one defenders can't tackle in space. If running backs Matt Forte or Michael Bush can’t get 100 yards against this sorry group, I’ll shave my goatee for the next Bears Postgame Live.
It should be a good weekend for the Bears offensively as they move the football through the air and on ground, while also moving their record to 7-1." (CSN Chicago)
Four Downs- ESPN Chicago experts tackle four Bears-related topics with "Fact" or "Fiction" answers. The topics: Chris Johnson will be the first running back to rush for over 100 yards against the Bears this season; Matt Forte has to take on a bigger role in the Bears' offense; Tim Jennings'is the MVP of the defense through seven games; With the Texans looming, the Bears are in for a trap game against the Titans on Sunday.
My answers to those four topics:
1. Fiction. Chris Johnson could very well have a huge game, but I wouldn't predict it. He's looked much, much better over the last few weeks, but he still has a tendency to dance around in the backfield, and if you do that against the Bears, they'll usually make you pay for it.
2. Fact. Forte absolutely has to have a bigger role in the Bears' offense, especially on first down as I explained above. Feed him until a team shows they can stop him. And even if defenses do a good job containing him, running the ball a lot will open up more in the passing game. Additionally, I'd like to see more screen passes and other ways to get him involved in the passing game.
3. Fact. You could argue a bunch of players for MVP on the Bears' defense so far: Tim Jennings, Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs, Henry Melton, etc. But I'm going to give Jennings the nod at the moment. An NFL-leading six interceptions, and of course the pick-six to finally give the Bears the lead in the fourth quarter against the Panthers. If nothing else, he deserves this just for the incredible improvement he's made in his play since last year.
4. Fiction. Could the Bears disappoint and lose this game against the Titans? Absolutely. But, this isn't even a bad Titans team, and winning on the road in the NFL is never easy, regardless of how good you are and bad they are. And one thing we know for sure is that the Bears aren't going to take the Titans lightly after a one-win Panthers team just went into Soldier Field and should've won the game.
So, if the Bears lose, I don't think it will be because this is a "trap" game or that they took the Titans lightly, it will just be because they didn't play well and/or the Titans did play well, etc. This won't be an easy game.
Behind The Numbers- Bears At Titans- 'Deez' at Bear Goggles On provides plenty of interesting numbers involving the Bears and Titans heading into Sunday's game. (Bear Goggles On)
Bears' Offense Can Be Good, But It Just Needs To Be Good Enough- Steven Schweickert explains that while it would be nice for the Bears to have the offense that everybody thought it could be coming into the season, the offense just needs to be "good enough" as long as the defense keeps playing at a high level.
He closes his article with these thoughts:
"The Bears' offense has plenty to fix. But if the defense keeps going, if the offense just keeps up with them, I don't think too many of us would complain. Pretty or not. Get what you need, get the win." (Windy City Gridiron)
J'Marcus Webb Vs. Kamerion Wimbley- Brett Solesky looks at the matchup between Bears left tackle J'Marcus Webb and and Titans defensive end Kamerion Wimbley, a player the Bears were reportedly after in the offseason. (Midway Illustrated)
Do The Bears Have The Best Cornerbacks In The Business?- Dave Gilbert looks at whether or not the Bears have the best group of cornerbacks in the NFL. Right now? I don't know how you can say no with the production they've had in 2012. (Windy City Gridiron)
Jay Cutler A Nashville 'Legend'- Melissa Isaacson writes about Jay Cutler's days at Vanderbilt. (ESPN Chicago)
Expert Picks- Every 670 The Score/CBS 2/WBBM 780/105.9 FM expert picks the Bears in this one... except for Hub Arkush, who's been known to be a bit pessimistic when it comes to the Bears. He has the Titans winning 24-20, and here's his explanation for the pick:
"The Bears have played two stinkers in a row and been gifted wins which rarely teaches a team a lesson. With Houston next week and the 49ers the week after, this is the classic trap. I hope I’m wrong but my gut is screaming at me this is where the Bears stumble." (CBS Chicago)
Expert Picks- Everybody from ESPN Chicago has the Bears winning, except for loud mouth Scoop Jackson. And does anybody value Scoop Jackson's opinion anyway? (ESPN Chicago)
Expert Picks- (Chicago Sun-Times)
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