As the Chicago Bears head to Indianapolis to take on the Colts this Sunday, here are the five pivotal matchups that will determine which team comes away with their second victory of the season.
Jerrell Freeman vs Andrew Luck
The battle between two signal callers. Freeman is going up against his former team, and the Bears best defender will play with a bigger chip on his shoulder as he looks for retribution. Luck is one of the smarter quarterbacks in the league and is proficient at reading opposing defenses.
On the other hand, it will be up to Freeman to ensure the Bears defenders are lined up correctly and in the best position to succeed. This is a battle of wits, and whoever can outsmart the other the majority of the time, will win this chess match, which will be a big determinate of the game’s final outcome.
Look for both players to have special moments in this game, because both are very capable of doing so.
Akiem Hicks vs Jack Mewhort
If Chicago wants to come away with a victory, they are not just going to need a pass rush, but more importantly, the Bears must create pressure when only rushing four. That starts with Hicks. He is the best player on that Bears defensive line and needs to continue making his impact felt like he did last week. Mewhort is one of the better guards in the league and is very sound in pass protection. This will be a tough matchup for Hicks, but one he needs to find a way to win. Look for this to be a ferocious battle in the trenches from the first to final snap.
Bobby Massie vs Erik Walden
Even though the Colts pass rush is nothing to fear, this is a matchup to be concerned about. Massie has struggled since Week 1, and even though he had a better game last week, it’s difficult to trust the right tackle. Massie has consistently given up a tremendous amount of pressure, which at times has crippled this Bears offense.
For the Colts, Walden has been their best attempt at any sort of pass rush this season. The defense as a whole has struggled to reach opposing quarterbacks, however, Walden has made his impact felt as he leads the team in sacks (four) and has two forced fumbles on the year. He is quick off the edge, and speed has been something Massie has struggled against all season.
If Massie can’t handle Walden, the Bears offense will have a hard time mounting drives and putting points on the board.
Eddie Royal vs Patrick Robinson
Without Kevin White, there is going to be more pressure on Royal to perform. He has done well this season, but without White, defenses will be able to key in on him more. The 30-year-old wideout proved last week he can run effective routes, get open, and do special things once the ball is in his hands. Robinson missed two weeks due to a concussion before returning last week. In his limited playing time, he has struggled in coverage, and at times, might play a little too aggressive.
Look for the Bears to look to Royal early and often in hopes of exploiting this matchup. Royal could be in for another big day.
Jacoby Glenn/Bryce Callahan vs T.Y. Hilton
These two will more than likely split duties covering Hilton. Glenn should cover him on the outside and Callahan should take over when Hilton slides into the slot. Both of these young corners are capable of containing the speedy wideout, which they proved last week when they shut down both Marvin Jones and Golden Tate.
Hilton will be targeted a ton in this game, as he enters the game as the league’s third-most targeted receiver (44). The Colts try to use him in a variety of ways, in all facets of their passing game, but the duo of Glenn and Callahan are capable of mitigating his impact. Since the Bears tend to play man, this matchup will play a big role in whether or not the Colts offense gets going.
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