Chicago Bears: Predicting an undefeated September in 2018

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Mitch Trubisky Chicago Bears
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

Week 3: At Arizona Cardinals

Keys to the game

Shut down the middle

More than likely, quarterback Sam Bradford will be under center for when the Bears take on the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3. If this is the case (barring injury, of course), the Bears’ defensive game plan is pretty simple.

Outside of getting to the quarterback (always a key), the Bears’ linebackers will be primarily responsible for shutting down the short passing game. Obviously, the secondary comes into play here as well. But, this will be a job for both Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith (hopefully) to spearhead.

Bradford is king of the short, quick passes. There’s a reason why he put up such an impressive completion percentage a couple years back with the Vikings. If the Bears are ready for him to work towards the slot and tight ends often, they have their first key down.

Run the ball 50-plus percent

If you know anything about the Cardinals’ run defense, you know they were top-10 last year. Typically you’d want to take advantage of a weakness, but in the Bears’ case, they have the personnel to attack this front.

First and foremost, Howard needs a minimum of 15 carries in this game — and that’s on the low end. The more the game wears on, the better he is, and they’ll need him as they try to tire out a Cardinals’ defensive front which gave up just 89.6 yards per game on the ground last year (good for sixth in the NFL).

Hot. Bears Rumors: Trade packages for Khalil Mack. light

The obvious key

The most obvious key to shutting down the Cardinals will be to try and contain one of the best backs in football, David Johnson. I think I speak for football fans everywhere when I say I hope he comes back fully healthy and has a successful season — except in Week 3.

The Bears’ primary focus, defensively, is to know where number 31 is at all times. Sounds simple, but like trying to shut down vintage Adrian Peterson, the Bears will have a tall task.

When it comes down to it, if the Bears can limit Johnson’s production in this one, they come away with the victory and thus will be 3-0 heading into the next week.