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Patriots vs. Bears preview: 3 keys to the game, fun facts, prediction

Ryan Hannable
October 20, 2018 - 9:05 am
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For the first time since 2010, the Patriots will travel to Chicago to take on the Bears.

This is a much different team than in the past, as it has a young quarterback in Mitch Trubisky and a first-year head coach in Matt Nagy. The Bears were 3-1 before suffering a tough overtime loss to the Dolphins on the road last week. On the other hand, the Patriots are coming into the game off their best win of the season, 43-40 over the previously undefeated Chiefs. New England has won three straight contests and is 4-2 on the season.

There should be some similarities on offense, as Nagy was previously the Chiefs offensive coordinator.

Coming into the year this was thought as a fairly easy game, but with the addition of Khalil Mack and the impressive start to the year for Trubisky, this will be no easy walk in the park.

Patriots vs. Bears
Sunday, October 21, 2018
1:00 p.m., CBS
Patriots -3, over/under 48.5

3 keys to the game

Take care of the ball

Chicago comes into the game with the third-most takeaways in the league (14) and that comes with one fewer game as it has already had its bye week. The Bears defense has 10 interceptions and five fumble recoveries, so the Patriots will need to do a better job of taking care of the ball than they have to open the season. This is one of the top criticisms of the offense, as Tom Brady is on pace for 16 interceptions, which would be the most he’s had in his entire career.

Don’t let Trubisky/Bears offense get going

It’s important to start fast in every game, but especially this week on the road. This is one of the biggest games of the year for the Bears and their crowd will certainly be into it from the start. If the Patriots can get off to a strong start and score first, they will eliminate the crowd. Also, if Trubiksy and the Bears offense get off to a strong start, this will give them confidence and that is the last thing the Patriots defense wants to happen.

Limit big plays on defense

Obviously the Chiefs aren’t like any other offense in the NFL, but the Patriots defense had a major problem with big plays last week and cannot let it happen again. With playmakers both in the backfield and at wide out, the Bears have the big-play ability at any time. This could also be a big confidence boost for the defense to bounce back after a very poor second half last Sunday night.

Fun facts

1. Since Bill Belichick took over as Patriots coach, rookie head coaches are 15-45 against him. Belichick’s teams have a plus-26 turnover differential in those games and have outscored opponents by an average of 9.1 points.

2. Over the last three weeks, only Todd Gurley (368) has rushed for more yards than Sony Michel (316).

3. Since getting Julian Edelman back, Brady’s passing yards per game average has gone from 229.5 to 340.5.

4. The Bears haven’t allowed a single rushing touchdown this season.

5. Rob Gronkowski has gone five straight games without a touchdown, the longest streak of his career. His previous long was four games in 2011.

Prediction 

Patriots 27, Bears 23

After three straight games of scoring 38 or more points, the Bears defense should be able to slow the Patriots offense down at least a little bit. This game won’t be as easy as first thought, as it seems like a game the Bears and their home crowd is really going to be up for. We like the Patriots’ experience being the difference and being able to find a way to make the big plays at the end.

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