The Chicago Bears defense played well enough to win in the week two game against the Green Bay Packers. They allowed only one offensive touchdown and sacked Aaron Rodgers five times in the game. There wasn't much the defense could have done better given they got pressure from all four defensive line positions and Tim Jennings had a second consecutive strong game.
The Bears now come home to face an improved St. Louis Rams offense that wants to come in here and pull off a second consecutive big win.
We go inside the film room to try and examine the Rams offense and find out if they can have success against a stingy Bears defense.
The Rams on offense are the polar opposite of what they are on defense, they like to get creative. They'll spread you out with three four and at times even five wide receiver sets and make you defend the entire field.
The offense under Brian Schottenheimer will run the ball with Stephen Jackson, but they'll do so primarily out of a single back formation. They do occasionally bring in the fullback but they're not a very power run oriented football team. They're a zone running team and this plays right into the strength of the Bears' front-seven.
The Bears on defense attack the gaps and the spacing in a zone blocking scheme with the speed of their front four. This allows penetration which causes the running back to stop or change direction back to where the help is to make the tackle. The Bears have consistently been amongst the NFL's best in generating tackles for a loss because of just how active their front four is against the run.
Against the Rams it should be more of the same because of their zone scheme. Henry Melton has shown he can use his speed to attack the running game of any team, and now that Stephen Paea commands the double-team on nearly every down this leaves Melton in one on one situations.
The Rams however won't run the football all that much unless they get the lead. They're not a run first team, which they likely should be given the talent they have in Stephen Jackson and a better backup option in years past in Daryl Richardson.
Since the Rams will try to spread the Bears out expect the Bears to play a lot of nickel in this game with Kelvin Hayden and DJ Moore being key. The Bears have some of the most physical CBs in the NFL and this should also be an advantage against the smallish Rams receivers.
Of the Rams' top four receivers on their depth chart, not one is over 6-foot tall meaning the bigger Hayden and Tillman should be able to press these guys at the line. Jennings who has played bigger than his small 5-foot-8 frame should also be able to play physical against these receivers.
For the Rams to have a high level of offensive success against the Bears they're going to have to play a lot of no-huddle and try to wear down the Bears defense. The Rams are a very fast offense but they'll have to play fast and consistent in order to beat the Bears at home.
Further complicating things for the Rams is the success the Bears have had early on generating a pass rush from their front four. Ten sacks through two games with four different defensive linemen generating fairly consistent pressure on a week to week basis.
This again allows the Bears to get quick pressure and then keep everything in front of them so they can rally to the football and try to get the all-important takeaways.
The way I see it the Bears defense is at home against a quarterback who has yet to find a high level of consistency on a week to week basis. Sam Bradford has talent, but not a lot talent around him, and until he gets that he won't be able to consistently move his team down the field.
The Rams attempting to spread the Bears out will play to this defense's strength because there is speed, and discipline on defense. The Bears rarely make mistakes and rally to the football as well as any team in the NFL. Pressure from the front four with seven in coverage is what the Bears do best, and it's what the Rams don't want to face.
Teams that blitz always leave an opening for a spread offense to attack, seven defenders in coverage usually means a seven on four advantage in the secondary. This doesn't take the Bears out of their element, rather it plays to one of their strengths.
The Rams may be riding high after competing hard against the Detroit Lions and then rallying to beat the Redskins. However neither of those teams has the talent and discipline on defense the Bears have.
I fully expect the Bears to continue to play well on defense and give the Rams a rude awakening on the lake front on Sunday.