Week 3: St. Louis Rams At Chicago Bears
- QuarterbackThe Rams are hoping that Sam Bradford can make a few throws early to establish himself and show that he can move the ball consistently. Bradford lacks a big-time arm and physical strength, but he can read defenses and is an accurate thrower when he has time.Jay Cutler is coming off an embarrassing effort against Green Bay in which his leadership ability was questioned. He should have a much easier time at home against the Rams with his quick release and arm strength.
- OffenseThe Rams need to get something out of running back Steven Jackson in this game because they don’t want to put it all on Bradford’s shoulders. Danny Amendola is a hard-working receiver who will catch the ball when he gets his hands on it. The offensive line is not very dependable.The Bears suffered a major blow when running back Matt Forte suffered an ankle sprain and is unlikely to play this game. Power back Michael Bush is a decent runner. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall will try to exploit the Rams vulnerable secondary.
- DefenseThe Rams are trying to establish a smart, aggressive defense under head coach Jeff Fisher. He has an excellent pass rusher in Chris Long, but the Rams don’t have a lot of complementary players. The secondary appears to be fertile ground for opposing wide receivers.The Bears realize that middle linebacker Brian Urlacher is struggling because of an injured left knee and he lacks his usual mobility. Defensive end Julius Peppers is still one of the best pass rushers in the league. Charles Tillman excels at forcing fumbles.
- Special TeamsThe Rams got no help from their special teams a year ago and Fisher decided to rebuild by drafting placekicker Greg Zuerlein and using unproven punter Johnny Hekker, who has a big leg. The coverage teams are ordinary.This has always been a strength for the Bears but they gave up a touchdown to the Packers on a fake field goal. Look for Devin Hester to assert himself with a special-teams big play. Placekicker Robbie Gould is quite dependable.
The Bears had a horrible offensive showing in Week Two against the Packers, but Lovie Smith’s team is not going to live in the past. The Bears know they will have another shot at Green Bay later in the season. Chicago has too much talent for the ordinary teams in the league and the Rams certainly qualify for that designation.