Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/23/12

Who are the Chicago Bears?

Are they the offensive juggernaut from a week 1 dismantling of the Indianapolis Colts? Or are they the self-imploding team from an embarrassing week two loss to the Green Bay Packers?

Truth is the true identity of the Bears most likely lays somewhere in-between.

One thing is for certain, the answer will not be found on Sunday against the St. Louis Rams (1-1). For the past 10 days the Bears have been stuck with the sour taste of the Packers loss, not to mention all the turmoil that has unfolded. It will be back to football for the Bears, but facing a 2-14 team from a season ago -- for the second time this season -- will not provide an accurate measuring stick for a team with Super Bowl aspirations. It will however, provide an opportunity for the Bears to get back to the basics and work out some of the kinks from the first two weeks.

Just as in week one, anything less than a convincing win for the Bears will be considered a disappointment.

So without further ado here is my three bold predictions for this week three matchup at Soldier Field.

1. Jay Cutler will NOT be sacked

Yes, you read that right! I said Jay Cutler will not be sacked by the Rams on Sunday. A team is only as strong as its weakest link and it's no secret the Bears offensive line is by far the ***** in the armor. J'Marcus Webb, who became known nation-wide after being bumped on national television by Cutler against the Packers, somehow has retained his starting spot. Webb will, or at least should, be fired up to play his best game as a pro on Sunday. 

Cutler will be making his 44th start for the Bears on Sunday. During that time he has been sacked a total of 119 times. Of the previous 43 starts, only three games has Cutler not been sacked. The numbers are obviously stacked against this bold prediction, but after all that has happened over the last 10 days the offensive line will want to come out and make a statement. Mike Tice will also change up blocking schemes to give his signal-caller a little extra protection.

2. The Rams are who we thought they are.

The Rams are not the same 2-14 team from a season ago, but still have a long way to go to be on the same playing field as the Bears. Steven Jackson is still considered a game-time decision for the Rams. Even if the Rams all-pro running back plays, it will be hard to believe Jackson will be anywhere near 100 percent. 

Look for the Bears defense to pin its ears back and put a ton of pressure on Rams QB Sam Bradford. Bradford is third in the NFL with a 112.4 QB rating and led the Rams offense to an impressive second half rally against the upstart Washington Redskins last week.

 But if the Bears defense is able to make the Rams offense one-dimensional it could be a long day for the former No. 1 draft pick and the Rams.

3. Bears will rush for over 150 yards and tight-ends will have big impact

One way to remove pressure from Cutler and the passing game is to have a strong running attack. Matt Forte has officially been ruled out of the game with an ankle injury sustained in the second half of the Packers loss, so look for Michael Bush to have a big day. Bush has adamantly stated he is more than just a short-yardage back and possess the tools to be an every down back. Sunday will be his time to prove it. 

Look for Tice to dial up Bush's number early and often. The Bears will not see a drop off in production in the running game from Forte to Bush, but will suffer a bit in the passing game. 

One way to free up the home-run threat of Brandon Marshall and rookie Alshon Jeffry on the outside is to open up the middle of the field. Tight-end Kellen Davis was responsible for the Bears only offensive touchdown against the Packers, so look for Tice to make Davis and the rest of the tight-ends more involved in the offense. Through the first two games, a trio of Bears tight-ends have combined for just three receptions and 42 yards. Those numbers need to vastly improve and should on Sunday.

Prediction: Bears 37, Rams 10

 

TRAVIS DAVID is a contributor for FOOTBALL NATION and can be reached at tdavid021@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tdavid_21.



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