Coming off of a huge win against the Baltimore Ravens, the Chicago Bears look to continue their winning ways without quarterback Jay Cutler in week 12 against the St. Louis Rams. Josh McCown will again get the start against a Rams team that is also without their starter, Sam Bradford.
It’s no secret that the Bears can still put points on the board with McCown, but the problem for Chicago has been on the defensive side of the ball. After losing key guys like Henry Melton, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman, the Bears have looked completely different on that side of the ball.
The issues have come from the pass rush, or at least I believe that’s where they’ve stemmed from as a whole. Not only are the Bears without Melton, but Nate Collins was lost for the year and Stephen Paea is still not back. Defensive end Shea McClellin might play as he is probable.
This means that the veteran Julius Peppers, Corey Wootton and rookie David Bass will have to continue making plays at a consistent rate. Peppers’ name has been called more often over the past couple of weeks, Wootton has made plays more often than not and Bass is coming off a game in which he returned an interception for a touchdown.
Going up against a run game featuring rookie Zac Stacy is no easy task. Stacy has rushed 129 times for 537 yards and three scores this year after he finally assumed the role of St. Louis’ feature back. The kid has great feat, a huge frame and breaks tackles — for a Bears defense that seemingly forgot how to tackle this year, this is not a good matchup.
Chicago will have a shot to win this one if they can get solid play out of their defensive line both in the run game and the passing game. I’m sure the coaching staff is sick of seeing their group being run over week in and week out, but if they can get a consistent pass rush first and foremost, the Bears will be much better off than in recent weeks.
The Bears are used to having one of the more aggressive front seven’s in the league, but this year injuries have taken their toll and weakened the group. For Chicago’s playoff hopes to stay alive in 2013, they must get that style of play back against the Rams.