Arizona Cardinals vs Chicago Bears: Know thy enemy
RZ: Who is the one player Cards fans should know more about that maybe doesn’t get talked about as much as others?
BG: I will go with a not so under the radar player for the Bears offense. How about running back Jordan Howard? He’s been awfully quiet the first couple of weeks with just 29 carriers for 117 yards so far this season.
Matt Nagy’s play calling has leaned heavily on the passing game but I hope that ends Sunday and Howard gets about 25+ carries. Getting Howard going will take some pressure off Trubisky and hopefully open up some play action passes.
On the defensive side of the ball, I’ll give you rookie linebacker Roquan Smith. Smith essentially missed the entire preseason while his agents and the Bears tussled over some worthless contract language. Now, he’s back in the fold and started his first game last week after only seeing 8 snaps in Week 1.
He flashed the first couple of games but still had moments where he looked a little lost in the defense. He has elite speed as a linebacker and could be used to keep David Johnson‘s season stuck in neutral.
RZ: Despite the 4th quarter comeback by Green Bay in week 1, can Chicago compete for the NFC North title?
BG: I think it’s entirely fair to expect the Bears to contend in the NFC North. They were thisclose to pulling out the win in Week 1 and in Week 2 you saw the Packer and Vikings play to a tie. With Rodgers nursing a bad knee, the Packers offense will be limited, even though Rodgers at 80% is still better than most QB’s out there.
I think the Vikings are still the class of the division. Their defense is legit and Kirk Cousins seems to be fitting in well to run their offense. I think the Lions are better than their first two games have showed, but Matt Patricia has his work cut out for him.
RZ: What is your prediction for the game and why?
BG: Recent memory makes me nervous whenever the Bears are favored. On paper, it would seem the Bears defense should be able to handle the struggling Cardinals offense regardless of who’s under center. The game is decided when the Bears have the ball.
I think the coaching staff turns to the ground attack to take some pressure off Trubisky and the Bears have enough to get out of the desert with a win. It shouldn’t be too hostile an environment for the Bears, as I expect to see a lot of Navy and Orange in the stands. It’s not quite the Dennis Green “crown their ass” game, but the Bears pull off a win.
Bears 22, Cardinals 17
That’s about where I have the game as well, with the Bears coming out on top. My prediction appears in the game preview. He is being generous giving the Cardinals 17 points. I would be estatic if that happened, win or lose.