Chicago Bears: 5 Ways Jay Cutler and the Bears Can Make the Playoffs
The Bears have been hot the past few weeks with impressive wins against the Vikings and the Buccaneers. Both the defensive and offensive lines have been improving and this is definitely positive. What has also stood out is Mike Martz's play-calling.
This team is in prime position to make a playoff run in the second half of the season, and I have a great feeling that they can make it.
Here are the five ways the Bears can make the playoffs this year.
1. Get Better Safety Play
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Safety Chris Harris was supposed to solidify the position for the Bears this season, but his play has been subpar and he was recently cut. The bad part of all that is that he just signed with the division-rival Detroit Lions and is probably looking to put a hurting on the Bears.
The Bears' safeties have been giving up a lot of big plays this season. The Bears have been using a committee of safeties with Major Wright, Chris Conte, Craig Steltz and Brandon Meriweather. These guys are all young and still trying to grasp the position in this Tampa two defense.
I believe that the safeties will continue to get better and cut down the big plays for the second half of the season. The chances of making the playoffs will greatly increase as these safeties continue to mature and get better.
2. Special Teams
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I don’t think there has been one player on special teams that can change the game the way Devin Hester can. He has a knack for finding the end zone and is continuing to get better at it. He currently holds the record in kickoff and punt-return touchdowns and is only 28 years old.
Hester gives the Bears great field position every time he touches the ball. He also ignites the Bears’ offense, defense and the fans—and that could be the most important thing for this team. The mystique of Hester can carry this team into the playoffs. If I was a coach, I would never kick Hester the ball because you never know what he can do.
Another aspect on the Bears' special team is kicker Robbie Gould. Gould has been one of the best and reliable kickers in the NFL. The late-game pressures do not seem to phase Gould, and his reliable kicking will help this team into the playoffs.
3. Hope That the Lions and Everyone Else Will Lose
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The Chicago Bears are smack in the middle in the wild-card race. I know that it is early, but we are about halfway through the season and the fight for the playoffs has begun.
The Detroit Lions currently have one of the wild card spots with a 6-2 record, while the Bears and the rest of the teams in the NFC either have a 4-3 or 3-4 record. The Bears are hoping that the Lions can lose a few more games so they have a chance for either wild-card spot instead of just one.
It will definitely be a difficult task, as there are numerous playoff-caliber teams such as the Eagles, Falcons, Cowboys and Tampa Bay competing for that lone spot. The first task to help the Bears in their playoff conquest is to beat the Eagles this Monday night.
4. Continue To Give Forte the Ball
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Forte has been picking up steam in the running game as of late and is the best receiver that the Bears have. With the defense on a decline and the offensive line below average, Forte has carried this team to four wins and put them in position for a playoff run.
Offensive coordinator Mike Martz is a very pass-happy guy, and there will be times when he will stay away from the running game, which cannot happen. Forte must get the ball even more so than he has lately. If the Bears want to make the playoffs, then Forte must make up 60 percent of the offense for the rest of the season.
All I can say is: Pay the man. Matt Forte is one of the best backs in the league.
5. Protect Cutler and Allow Him To Roll out
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The Bears are getting first-round pick Gabe Carimi back on the offensive line this week, which should be a big boost to Cutler.
Recently, Cutler has been touched a lot less with Martz calling a lot of roll-out plays to avoid the pass rush—something the stubborn offensive coordinator should have implemented at the start of the season.
Offensive line coach Mike Tice will have to work his magic each week to give Cutler enough time to throw the deep ball to his speedy receivers. When Cutler doesn’t get touched by defenders, he tends to play better and his bad attitude is gone. Keep Cutler upright and the Bears can make the playoffs.