Bryan Perez

Patrick Mahomes' injury will have direct impact on NFC North race

Patrick Mahomes' injury will have direct impact on NFC North race

The Kansas City Chiefs and the entire NFL universe nearly imploded Thursday night after reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes suffered a dislocated kneecap in the Chiefs' victory over the Denver Broncos.

It was hard to watch. Not only did it feel like the league was losing its top superstar, but the vision of Chiefs trainers popping Mahomes' right kneecap back into place was, well, unpleasant.

Speculation about how much time Mahomes will miss in 2019 spread like wildfire on Twitter. A range of three weeks to the rest of the season was suggested. After undergoing an MRI Friday, it appears Mahomes will be back sooner than later. He'll miss some games, but not the rest of the season, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Assuming Mahomes misses just three games, his absence will still have a massive ripple effect on the NFC North. Two of the Chiefs' next three games include the Packers and Vikings, both of whom the Bears are jockeying with for divisional supremacy. The Bears, meanwhile, face the Chiefs in Week 16 when all indications suggest Mahomes will be back to firing missiles all over the field.

It's great news that Mahomes avoided a serious injury. It's less than great news that his injury will only hurt Chicago's chances at a second-consecutive division title.

Here's to hoping Mitch Trubisky catches fire over the final 11 games and outduels his 2017 draft classmate in the penultimate game of the season.

Should the Chicago Bears trade for Melvin Gordon?

Should the Chicago Bears trade for Melvin Gordon?

The Bears running game has struggled mightily in 2019. In fact, it's been downright atrocious. Non-existent. Invisible. Nowhere to be found.

You get the point.

But a good running game has a lot of moving parts. Literally. Most notably, it requires a competent offensive line that consistently creates running lanes for the ball carrier, no matter who it is.

The Bears have a talented young running back on the roster in rookie David Montgomery. They invested a third-round pick on him and there's no indication the team has soured on his long-term projected despite a rough five-week span that's seen the former Iowa State star average just 3.3 yards per carry.

His struggles are more than just his own, however. He needs help from his offensive line. Most of his carries result in contact at or near the line of scrimmage, and for a first-year player who's still adjusting to life in the NFL, that just isn't a recipe for immediate success.

Here's the thing with the NFL, though: it's a 'what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league.' So if an upgrade can be had (at any position), the Bears have to at least consider it.

According to former Browns offensive lineman and current NFL Network analyst Joe Thomas, GM Ryan Pace should take a long and hard look at Chargers star, Melvin Gordon.

"I would love to see my Badger, Melvin Gordon, go to the Chicago Bears," Thomas said this week. "They're a team right now with a quarterback that's struggling a little bit. Matt Nagy would love to have a weapon like Melvin Gordon who's great not only running the football, but he's great catching the football out of the backfield.

"The type of weapon that he could be, the security blanket that he could be for Mitch Trubisky would be outstanding for this team. He would give Mitch Trubisky a lot of opportunities to get some easy completions, some throws out of the backfield to start boosting his confidence."

Not the worst idea in the world, but let's be honest: there's no way Pace is going to pull the trigger on a running back who's already expressed his desire to be paid among the elite players at his position despite production that simply doesn't put him on that level.

Sure, Gordon would be a fun and exciting addition for a Bears offense that needs a spark right now, but it's way too early to suggest Montgomery can't be that guy once the offensive line and overall flow of the offense improves.

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Is the Bears' remaining schedule easier than it appears?

Is the Bears' remaining schedule easier than it appears?

It's incredible how quickly storylines can change in the NFL. Just a couple of weeks ago, the Bears had one of the most challenging (if not the most challenging) remaining schedules in the NFL. But is that really the case?

It sure doesn't feel that way.

This Sunday features what should be a challenging test for the Bears against a New Orleans Saints team that's managed to survive four weeks without QB Drew Brees and amass a 5-1 record. Backup QB Teddy Bridgewater has been good enough and the defense has been fantastic. But what would this team look like without RB Alvin Kamara in the lineup? 

We might find out at Soldier Field this weekend. Kamara is trending toward missing the game with an ankle injury, which means the Bears will face the Saints without BOTH Brees and Kamara. That's not nearly as challenging of a mission as it was expected to be.

Then it's Week 8 and the Bears welcome the struggling Los Angeles Chargers, losers of two straight games, to Soldier Field. As is the case every year, the Chargers have been brutalized by injuries and are playing nowhere near the contender level anticipated from QB Phillip Rivers, WR Keenan Allen and RB Melvin Gordon. They're a bad team right now, and they won't get much better in just two weeks.

In Week 9, the Bears travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles and one of the NFL's worst all-around secondaries. Philly is 3-3 and struggling to find an identity. They've dealt with injuries, too, but man...that secondary is just awful.

Let's jump forward to Week 11 and the Bears' trip to Los Angeles to face the Rams. There weren't many NFC teams favored more than the Rams to represent the conference in the Super Bowl this year, but that shine has worn off. QB Jared Goff looks like a rookie again and the defense, even with the addition of CB Jalen Ramsey, just isn't the same. There's a reason why they're 3-3; Los Angeles is an average team right now.

And remember: The rest of the Bears' schedule includes the lowly Giants, the struggling Cowboys, the potentially Mahomes-less Chiefs and a few  NFC North matchups that are more than winnable.

Maybe this is nothing more than wishful thinking. But the Bears have a great opportunity to get hot down the stretch and build momentum for a second-straight playoff appearance.