Taking a post draft, rookie-minicamp look at the Bears 2019 opponents: Weeks 1 - 5

Taking a post draft, rookie-minicamp look at the Bears 2019 opponents: Weeks 1 - 5

A lot has changed since the NFL released the 2019 schedule. Teams have added through the draft and free agency, and learned more about their rosters with rookie minicamps. Now with all that behind us, let’s take another look at which opposing rookies could make an impact in 2019. We’ll go over the first five opponents on Wednesday, the next four on Thursday and the last four on Friday.

Week 1 vs. Packers

The Packers selected EDGE Rashan Gary with the No. 12 overall pick. Gary performed well at the Combine compared to other defensive linemen and outside linebackers, showing off his athleticism. But that athleticism didn’t lead to a ton of productivity in his final season at Michigan, as he only recorded 3.5 sacks and 38 tackles. Paired with the fact that Green Bay signed two veteran pass rushers this offseason, Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith, it will be interesting to see how many snaps Gary gets in Week 1.

Week 2 at Broncos

Joe Flacco LOVES throwing to the tight end. In 2017 (his last full season starting) he targeted tight ends on 24 percent of his passes. To compare, the Bears targeted their tight ends on 18 percent of all their passes. So, Denver GM John Elway went out and got Flacco a new, big target in the first round by selecting Noah Fant out of Iowa. Fant caught 39 passes for 519 yards and 7 touchdowns last season, and could factor into the Broncos passing game early in the season.

Week 3 at Washington

I’m sure no one had this game circled when schedules were officially released mid-April, but now that Dwayne Haskins is in D.C. this game is suddenly more interesting. Will Haskins have replaced Case Keenum as the starter by Week 3? Can Haskins re-create some chemistry with fellow OSU rookie and third-round pick Terry McLaurin? Last season for the Buckeyes that duo connected for 650 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Week 4 vs. Vikings

This will be the first look for the Bears at Minnesota’s revamped offensive line. Last season, the Bears sacked Kirk Cousins five times across their two meetings. The Vikings were only able to muster 85 total rushing yards in those two games, as well. To help with these issues the Vikings went out and drafted center Garrett Bradbury with their first round pick, traded up in the fourth round to select guard Dru Samia, and used a sixth-round pick to take tackle Olisaemeka Udoh. Vikings beat writers figure Bradbury will compete for the starting center job, which would slide Pat Elflein to guard, opposite new free-agent signing Josh Kline. Samia and Udoh would likely compete for backup roles.

Week 5 at Raiders (in London)

All eyes will be on Josh Jacobs, the running back from Alabama who the Raiders drafted with one of the first-round picks the Bears sent to Oakland in exchange for Khalil Mack. Jacobs was the consensus best back in the draft this season and should feature heavily in the Raiders run game this season, as Adam Schefter has reported that Marshawn Lynch plans to retire.

Check back Thursday as we’ll go over Weeks 6 through 9 for the Bears.

Rams' trade for Jalen Ramsey will have a direct impact on Bears' season

Rams' trade for Jalen Ramsey will have a direct impact on Bears' season

The Los Angeles Rams pulled off a blockbuster trade for Jacksonville Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey Tuesday night, sending two first-round picks (2020 and 2021) and a 2021 fourth-round pick for the superstar defender.

It's the second trade the Rams have accomplished in one day. Los Angeles shipped CB Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens for LB Kenny Young and a 2020 fifth-round pick earlier on Tuesday, completing a makeover in their secondary that will have a direct impact the Chicago Bears this season.

The Bears travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams in Week 11 as part of a brutal five-game stretch coming off of their bye week. Ramsey makes it even worse.

The Rams had little choice but to pull off a mega-deal like this. They're entering Week 7 with the 19th ranked pass defense and an underwhelming 3-3 record, a far cry from the expectations for last year's Super Bowl runner-up.

Mitch Trubisky and the Bears offense will have their hands full on November 17. The combination of Aaron Donald on the defensive line and Ramsey in the secondary is as intimidating as any defensive duo in the NFL and is capable of destroying even the smartest and most efficient passing attacks. And that's not exactly Chicago's pass offense so far.

Trubisky, who's expected to return from a left shoulder injury Sunday against the Saints, hasn't proven this season that he's capable of staring down the barrel of a Donald-Ramsey alliance. It will be a ridiculously difficult challenge for a quarterback who's still finding his way as a pro.

Ramsey has missed the last three games for a variety of reasons, most of which appear as tricks to remain healthy in anticipation of a trade.  He's a two-time Pro Bowler and has nine interceptions from 2016-2018.

Now, Ramsey is an opponent on Chicago's 2019 schedule. 

Power Ranking Roundup: The bye week didn't do the Bears any favors

Power Ranking Roundup: The bye week didn't do the Bears any favors

The Bears didn't play last week, but did that stop them from falling in Power Rankings across The Web? It did not! Going into the bye on a loss never fails to stoke the panic. Here's what they're saying: 

NBC Sports Chicago -- #16
Their power rankings slide is because of how well other teams performed Sunday; Chicago doesn't feel like a top-15 team when compared to the rest of the NFL. -- #9
The Bears do have a player who's good at all that stuff when given a chance -- that would be running back Tarik Cohen, who already had nine such "big plays" through five games a year ago. In 2019? He has just one, despite being healthy and available each week. Bears coach Matt Nagy needs to get Cohen involved.

ESPN -- #16
Their vertical passing attack is limited with Mitchell Trubisky or Chase Daniel at quarterback. The offense has been equally ineffective on the ground. Chicago has gained eight or more rushing yards on just 10 running plays through five games.

Bleacher Report -- #10
Chicago had best make good use of this week off and get things figured out. Four of the team's next five games after the bye are against teams that made the postseason a year ago, including trips to face the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams.

Sports Illustrated -- #17
A Vikings win this week and strong starts from the Lions and Packers suddenly raises the stake Sunday’s game against the Saints. Unfortunately, New Orleans has a similarly great defense and a much better offense than the Bears.

CBS Sports -- #13
They come off the bye looking to generate more on offense. But it was the defense that also had some issues in London. That unit needs to pick it up as well.

USA Today -- #14
Coming out of bye, club currently just outside playoff picture hits brutal stretch with just two of final 11 opponents currently below .500.

Yahoo Sports -- #11
The Bears have only two games left against teams who are currently under .500. They face the Chargers and Giants, who are both 2-4 and not totally incapable. If the Bears make it back to the playoffs, it’ll be impressive.

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