The Bears were always going to have a tough time beating the Ravens in Week 11. But after Friday’s awful news dump when the team announced Khalil Mack and Danny Trevathan would miss the rest of the season, plus Akiem Hicks would be out this Sunday and Allen Robinson would be doubtful, that challenge got much, much tougher. That doesn’t mean the Bears should just forfeit the game and start looking ahead to their Thanksgiving matchup against the Lions, however. You know the line about any team and any Sunday, and if the Bears can hone in on these three keys, they’ll give themselves a shot to pull off the upset.
SWARM LAMAR JACKSON
Jackson is undeniably the most dangerous and dynamic dual threat in the league. He can make opposing defenders look foolish, but as the Dolphins proved last week, he can also be stopped. What will be critical for the Bears is making sure several defenders are flying to the ball when Jackson takes off on the run, because there’s a good chance he will make somebody miss. If three or four defenders are swarming to Jackson every time, however, they stand a much better chance of limiting his impact on the game with the run.
PLAY TIGHT COVERAGE
The other half of trying to limit the damage Jackson can inflict on the defense, is to lock down his pass catchers. That pretty much begins and ends with Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews. Those two guys have combined for 100 catches, 1,342 yards and 10 touchdowns. The other 12 players who have caught a pass this season have combined for 104 catches, 1,144 yards and four touchdowns. If the Bears can prevent Jackson from getting the ball to either Brown or Andrews, then couple that with players swarming to Jackson like mentioned above, they’ll give themselves a good chance of keeping the Ravens’ score low.
ATTACK SECONDARY WITH TIGHT ENDS
In Week 9, the Bears finally got their tight ends working in the passing game. Cole Kmet had a career-high 87 yards. Justin Fields found Jimmy Graham down the seam for a spectacular 39-yard completion. Graham should’ve had a touchdown too, but a dubious low block call took it off the board. Coming out of the bye, the Ravens are the perfect team to face to build on that success. All season, Baltimore’s secondary has been vulnerable against the position, giving up 56 catches (seventh most in NFL), 652 yards (third most) and six touchdowns (t-third most) to the position. This will be especially important if Allen Robinson, who’s currently doubtful to suit up on Sunday, ends up missing the game.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION
In the end, the Ravens will likely be on their A game after their embarrassing loss to the Dolphins, and the substantial injuries to the Bears’ top players will be difficult to overcome. The offense will have the opportunity to move the ball, but Jackson might be too much for the battered defense to handle.
Ravens 27, Bears 20