Chicago’s listless offense should come alive against the beleaguered Bills defense this Sunday afternoon in Toronto, Canada. Likewise, the Bears defense will exploit a patchwork Bills offensive line to sack and harass the opposing QB, Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Considering these mismatches, five Chicago Bears are primed for success in Week 9.
Although Mike Martz has eschewed the running game, expect the Bears offense to demonstrate better patience and stick to the run against the woeful Bills rush defense. Forte can take advantage of the Bills’ weak linebacker corps, which is still adapting to the 3-4 scheme.
On passing downs, Forte will remain an integral part of the offense. To counteract aggressive blitzes,Martz may utilize the screen game to get Forte the ball in space, a tactic used successfully against the Detroit Lions in Week 1.
Near the goal line, Cutler has penchant for finding the versatile Forte in the end zone. The result should be a big day for the third-year back out of Tulane.
Earl Bennett is solidifying his role as the slot receiver in the Martz offense. During Weeks 6 and 7, Bennett excelled over the middle against Seattle and Washington.
With Johnny Knox’s improved production, defenses will likely key in on the speedster, creating opportunities for Bennett and the other receivers.
Moreover, the Bills’ blitz will open the middle of the field for Bennett, whose toughness and consistency make him an ideal target in crunch time. Look for Earl Bennett to get his first touchdown of the season.
Like the Bears, the Bills have fielded a shoddy offensive line this season, which is ranked in the bottom half of the league in sacks and QB hits allowed. Bears DE Julius Peppers will have the option of lining up against either LT Demetrius Bell or the rookie RT Cordaro Howard, both of whom have performed poorly in pass protection.
Last week, Howard allowed 2.5 sacks and over four QB hits against a pedestrian Chiefs defense. In his second year, the inexperienced Bell is still adjusting to the speed and intensity of NFL pass rushers.
As he has done all season, Peppers will bounce around throughout the game, probing for potential cracks on the Bills line, which he will find. This could be Peppers’ biggest game as a Bear.
The Bills prefer to run the ball on the left side of their line; throughout 2010, they have excelled at this. Chicago’s strong interior defensive line play will encourage the Bills to continue pushing the ball off tackle.
Fortunately, for Chicago, Lance Briggs has returned from his minor ankle injury and will provide excellent run stuffing support on the left side.
The Bills, however, will challenge Briggs to see whether he’s truly healed. Briggs will likely compile eight or more tackles as he attempts to contain Buffalo’s dynamic running duo in C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson.
In returning to his native Canada, the hardworking Israel Idonije will be motivated to have an excellent day. While Peppers battles double teams to keep Fitzpatrick upright, Idonije, as he’s done all year, will exploit one-on-one match-ups to create havoc in the backfield.
For his homecoming game, expect Idonije to increase his team leading sack total, which currently stands at 4.5.
Question to readers: Who do you think will have the biggest impact this weekend for the Bears?