The 5-1 Chicago Bears will head to Los Angeles to face the 4-2 Rams on Monday night. The Rams are most likely the toughest challenge the Bears have faced all season, and their stout defense could cause problems for the stagnant Bears offense. Here are 3 keys to the game for the Bears Week 7 matchup.
Make plays from the slot position
A large part of the Ram defensive success are their main two cornerbacks, Jalen Ramsey and Darious Williams. Opponents have had a difficult time throwing the ball against these two players, as Ramsey has allowed a 78.9 passer rating against and Williams has a 62.2 passer rating against. They cause problems to opposing passers, and the Bears offense will struggle to get off the ground if they consistently target them.
However, the Rams slot cornerback Troy Hill has struggled this year. He has allowed a 96.2 passer rating against, and when throwing against him, teams have a 78.4 completion percentage.
If the Bears want to be successful in the passing game on Monday, they will need to target whoever Hill is covering. Anthony Miller is the Bears main slot receiver, but he has not been getting as much playing time as expected this year. His snap count may increase against the Rams as he spends most of his time in the slot.
Another option for the Bears is to put Allen Robinson in the slot. He does not normally fill that role, as he has only taken 23.2% of his snaps from that position this season. However, to take advantage of the mediocre Troy Hill, he may spend more time at that position on Monday.
Whatever the Bears do, the success of their passing offense against the Rams will largely rely on making plays from the slot.
Find a way to stop Aaron Donald
The Bears offensive line has been terrible this season, and they have a tough task ahead of them against Aaron Donald and the Rams.
The Rams have the 5th most sacks in the league, with a total of 20. Donald is a large reason for their defensive success, as he accounts for 7.5 of their 20 sacks. He leads in the league in that category and is second in quarterback pressures with 19.
The Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner wrecks offensive lines, and the way they are playing, the Bears offensive line should be no different.
To make matters even worse, Donald will be blocked by a replacement offensive lineman.
He was originally set to face off against James Daniels, the Bears best offensive lineman. However, Daniels went down with an injury in the Bears Week 5 matchup. Whoever steps into Daniels’ spot, whether it be Alex Bars or Rashaad Coward, will most likely struggle against Donald.
The Bears offensive line will need to find some way to stop Aaron Donald on Monday night. If the star defensive end consistently pressures quarterback Nick Foles, the Bears passing offense will struggle.
Prepare for the run
Although the Rams offense is solid, it is not anything to be extremely worried about. To stop them the Bears defense needs to stay disciplined, specifically against the run.
The Rams offense relies heavily on running the ball. They are ranked 6th in rushing attempts, 10th in rushing yards and 4th in rushing touchdowns.
This season, the Bears defense has been middle of the pack in the NFL against the run. They rank 14th in the NFL for rushing yards allowed and rushing yards per attempt. They are also 11th in rushing touchdowns allowed.
If the Bears defense focuses their energy at the line of scrimmage, the Rams should not have too much success on the ground. However, the Bears cannot be caught sleeping against the play action.
Play action accounts for 45% of the Rams passing plays, and 22% of all offensive plays that the Rams run. It is a very important part of head coach Sean McVay‘s offense, as it helps quarterback Jared Goff get in rhythm. It also opens up the playbook for when the Rams decide to throw the ball.
On Monday night, the Bears must be stout at the line of scrimmage and not allow the Rams to continuously push the ball downfield through the run. However, they must stay disciplined and be ready for play action.
The Rams are a good team and this matchup is the start of a tough stretch of games for the Bears. Against Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey and the strong Rams defense, the offense should struggle throughout the game. However, with the way they have been playing recently, the Bears defense should do enough to shut down the Rams offense and give the Bears the win.
Bears 16 – Rams 13
“From Our Haus to Yours”