Haugh: Bears-Chargers Preview

Desperation meets exasperation Sunday at Soldier Field.

David Haugh
October 25, 2019 - 8:37 am
Categories: 

(670 The Score) The Bears (3-3) host the Chargers (2-5) on Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field. Kickoff comes at noon, and the game can be heard on WBBM Newsradio 780.

Here's a breakdown.

Bears 100:

Desperation meets exasperation when the Chargers visit the Bears, two teams in much different spots than they expected. The Chargers arrive more damaged, physically and psychologically. Perhaps only the Falcons have been more disappointing than the Chargers, who have battled injury and inconsistency. They still have Philip Rivers, but he can’t do everything. Their offensive line is vulnerable, and the Chargers struggle to protect the football. Defensively, injuries have reduced them to a young and shaky unit that the Bears should welcome. Unless pass rusher Joey Bosa wrecks the game plan, the Bears can get well and finally develop some offensive rhythm and confidence. The key will be Matt Nagy showing discipline calling plays and Mitchell Trubisky demonstrating growth running them.

Most intriguing matchup: Chargers left tackle Russell Okung vs. Bears pass rusher Khalil Mack

A two-time Pro Bowl lineman, Okung makes his season debut against the Bears. He won’t play the whole game but will help stabilize a unit beset by injury. The Raiders and Saints showed how much an offense can accomplish against the Bears if it occasionally handles Mack one-on-one, a task not too tall for Okung. Mack, on the other hand, has been too silent on and off the field. He needs a big day for a Bears defense looking to regain its swagger.

Most intriguing matchup II: Chargers pass rusher Joey Bosa vs. Bears offensive tackles 

Bosa arrives with more sacks than Mack – 5 to 4.5 – and the same ability to wreck a game plan. Meanwhile, the struggles continue for Bears offensive tackles Bobby Massie and Charles Leno Jr. With the Bears needing to move the pocket for Trubisky to improve his effectiveness, neutralizing Bosa every passing down becomes priority No. 1.

Quoting:

"I’m not an idiot. I know we have to run more."

-- Matt Nagy

Quoting II:

"Nothing in the past determines the future, nothing you did yesterday determines what you do tomorrow. The only thing that determines that is the attitude, effort and how you do your job that day."

-- Mitchell Trubisky

Stat of the week:

The Chargers rank 11th in the league in rushing defense, giving up 117.1 yards per game. That’s deceiving. They also give up up 4.2 yards per carry – suggesting teams that commit to running the ball against the Chargers probably can. Can the Bears take the hint?

Stat of the week II:

Trubisky is ranked 33rd out of 34 qualified NFL passers with an average of 5.2 yards per attempt. The only quarterback worse than Trubisky in that department is Dolphins quarterback Josh Rosen.

The difference:

In a battle of NFL underachievers, the Bears will take advantage of being at home, being challenged and being the overall better team. Expect Nagy to call at least 20 running plays to improve the offensive balance. Figure Trubisky to win back some of the trust he’s lost by beating a vulnerable defense beset with injuries. And count on the Bears defense resembling the special unit we haven’t seen in awhile by forcing a key turnover from a team prone to coughing it up.

Prediction: Bears 24, Chargers 20

David Haugh is the co-host of the Mully & Haugh Show on 670 The Score weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Listen to the show here. You can follow him on Twitter @DavidHaugh and email him at david.haugh@entercom.com.