Bears

Three Bears necessities to a win over the Raiders

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Three Bears necessities to a win over the Raiders

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Whether it's Jay Cutler or Jimmy Clausen at quarterback, it's safe to say there will be more opportunities through the air than there was last week at Seattle, both by chance and design. No defense is giving up more yardage per game than Oakland's (415 a game), and only two clubs allow more passing yards. But those opportunities must be loosened up by the offensive line being able to win its battles against a Raiders run defense allowing less than 92 yards per contest through three weeks (including a 3.9 average and just one run of at least 20 yards). Dictating the ground game and setting up a huge day for Matt Forte will also ease the edge rush pressure of Khalil Mack and Aldon Smith on tackles Kyle Long and Charles Leno Jr.

[MORE: After frustrating 0-3 start, Bears searching for turnaround]

The 2013 rematch

Kyle Fuller's draft stock soared in the college football opener two years ago when Virgina Tech lost to Alabama. But it wasn't because of Amari Cooper. While the Tide beat the Hokies rather convincingly, Fuller was largely matched vs. Cooper, and held him to four catches for 38 yards. Let's not get carried away hoping for a repeat, but as Derek Carr's primary target, his numbers the first three weeks are: 5-47, 7-109 (TD) and 8-134. Fuller hopefully began a climb last week back towards what a 14th overall pick should deliver. Can he keep Cooper somewhere between his numbers from Week 1 and Week 2?

[RELATED: Cutler, Jeffery questionable against Raiders]

Cover a kickoff!

The Bears will have to kick off at least once. They'd prefer to kickoff multiple times (after scoring). Or would they? Through the first three games, opponents are returning Robbie Gould's boots almost half the field (46.9 yards). The average starting field position for opponents is their own 40, 15 yards worse than the league's second-worst unit (the Giants). Two special teams veterans were signed this week off waivers (Chris Prosinsky and LaRoy Reynolds) when three players departed. Let's see if they can help. But it takes a village.

**Get ready for Sunday's noon kickoff at 11 a.m. on Comcast SportsNet with "Bears Pregame Live," as former Bears Jim Miller, Lance Briggs and Dan Jiggetts preview the matchup with Chris. As soon as the second quarter ends, log on here at CSNChicago.com for "Bears Halftime Live," as Jim and Chris break down the first 30 minutes, and go over second half adjustments. Then as soon as the game goes final on CBS, flip back to CSN for 90 minutes of analysis, reaction, live press conferences and locker room interviews with Lance, Dan, Jim and Chris on "Bears Postgame Live."**

NFC North standings: Bears fall to last in division with Week 7 loss to Patriots

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USA TODAY

NFC North standings: Bears fall to last in division with Week 7 loss to Patriots

The great Ricky Bobby once said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” Talladega Nights hit a little too close to home for the Bears in Week 7.

They came into Sunday at 3-2 at the top of the NFC North. After a 38-31 loss to the New England Patriots, they dropped to the bottom of the division.

The Detroit Lions defeated the Miami Dolphins 32-21 to improve to 3-3, leaving them tied with the Bears in the cellar.

The Minnesota Vikings’ 37-17 victory over the New York Jets jumped them to 4-2-1 overall and first place in the division over the 3-2-1 Green Bay Packers, who were off for their bye week.

The NFC North remains the most tightly contested division in the NFL, the only one with no teams under .500 through seven weeks of the season.

The final standings may not be decided until Week 17, and the Bears have already blown the early season cushion they built for themselves while the Vikings and Packers were struggling.

The divisional action will pick up in November, and Chicago only has a pair of games left to put it all together before back-to-back-to-back games against the Lions, Vikings and Lions again.    

Under Center Podcast: Bears lose 38-31 to the Patriots

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USA TODAY

Under Center Podcast: Bears lose 38-31 to the Patriots

Matt Forte, Lance Briggs and Alex Brown join Laurence Holmes to break down the Bears 38-31 loss to the Patriots. What happened to the Bears defense over their bye week, and how did the special teams struggle so bad against New England? Plus – the guys debate Mitchell Trubisky’s decision making in the red zone and Matt weighs in on how the Bears should play his former team – the New York Jets – next week.

0:35– Special teams to blame for loss?

4:12– Where did the Bears pass rush go? 

5:27– Bad tackling followed Bears from Miami

7:25– Are the coaches to blame for the defense after the bye?

10:10– Evaluating Mitchell Trubisky’s game

11:55– Agree with Matt Nagy on Mitch’s “mental” game?

13:30– Trubisky’s red zone decision making

17:10– Are the Bears giving away games so Mitch can learn?

18:00– Bears need to run the ball more

21:04– Matt Forte scouts his former team, the New York Jets

Listen to the full podcast here or in the embedded player below.

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