The Chicago Bears will bring their undefeated record into Pittsburgh this Sunday night when the play against the host Steelers. They will have to deal not only with a desperate Pittsburgh team looking for its first win but a hostile crowd as well.
Ball security and a stout defense will be the key to beating Pittsburgh at Hines Field. The Steelers have been able to muster only 19 points this season, so it won't take too much offense to knock them off.
LM: Trestman says Steelers are very difficult front to run against: "A lot of their pressures are designed to stop the run."— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) September 19, 2013
The first key for a road team in dealing with a rambunctious crowd is to establish the run early. It will be key for Matt Forte and Michael Bush to keep the chains moving and take the crowd out the game. Mixing in some short passes to Forte will be equally effective.
Once Forte has gotten rolling and the Steelers defense is on its heels, opportunities should open up for Cutler to take shots downfield, especially if Steelers All-Pro Troy Polamalu cheats up in the box as he is prone to do.
The Steelers defense has yet to get an interception this season and it has recorded only one sack. As long as Cutler is smart with the football, he should have no problem finding Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett down the field.
Slowing the Steelers on offense hasn't been too difficult for opposing defenses this year. Pittsburgh's running back situation has been a disaster, and the loss of All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey has hurt Pittsburgh in the running and passing games.
This is the perfect chance for the Bears to find their lost pass rush. Ben Roethlisberger was sacked five times in Week 1 against the Tennessee Titans and twice against the Cincinnati Bengals—the same Bengals team that was unable to sack Cutler.
A push up the middle from Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton will go a long way towards freeing up end Julius Peppers, Shea McClellin and Corey Wootton. Expect Chicago's linebackers and defensive backs to blitz, as the Steelers, with Pouncey's backup now making the offensive line calls, have appeared shaky on blitz pick ups.
Devin Hester is coming off a game that earned him Special Teams Player of the Week. The Steelers special teams coaches will have to game plan for him this week, as a short field will do nothing but help the Bears bury an offensively challenged football team.
Will Julius Peppers and Henry Melton get a sack on Sunday?
If the Bears come out running the football and make Roethlisberger run for his life, they should come away with a pretty convincing victory on Sunday Night Football.