The Bears did turn something around last weekend with a home win over the Oakland Raiders. But whether it was a turning point or simply a blip in an otherwise dire season will be a few more weeks becoming apparent.
For instance, the Jay Cutler lovers pointed to the Bears driving for Robbie Gould’s game-winning field goal in the final two seconds. The Cutler haters saw his fourth-quarter passer rating in the 40’s and third pivotal 2015 interception being rescued by a defensive stop and Gould.
Because the Bears’ season ultimately turns in very large part on whether Cutler can manage an offense with greater consistent control than he has through too much of his nine-year career. Reducing Cutler’s turnovers was the far-and-away No. 1 focus of incoming offensive coordinator Adam Gase, and that remains perhaps the biggest concern of John Fox, a defense-based coach who lives for takeaways and knows how turnovers are the biggest outcome-determinants in the NFL.
The operating supposition here is that Cutler will not repeat the devastating mistakes of the Green Bay, Arizona and (nearly) Oakland games.
One other operating assumption: The Kansas City Chiefs have allowed Alex Smith to be among the NFL’s most-sacked quarterbacks (18 times). Smith has managed to shake those off and post a superb interception rate of 2.1 percent (vs. Cutler’s very concerning 3.4 percent).
But the Bears defensively are not the same unit emotionally or statistically that they were in the Green Bay and Arizona losses. The Bears allowed Seattle just one offensive touchdown and Oakland two, and no one has scored a rushing touchdown on the Bears in either the Seattle or Oakland games.
[NBC SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]
All of which means: Cutler will not throw another devastating interception for the first time this season as Gase’s mantra finally gets through against a decidedly shaky Kansas City defense (pass rushers, yes, other strengths, not so much). And the Bears defense, with special teams taking their own next step, will harass Smith and a struggling Chiefs offense into directions it doesn’t want to go, taking running back Jamaal Charles out of the game with solid fundamentals.
The Chiefs are favored. I don’t see it.
Moon's Prediction: Bears 23, Chiefs 21