The Los Angeles Chargers are freefalling after losses to the Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans.
Those are three games many fans and analysts counted as wins before the season started and to see the team lose all three of them, particularly with the circumstances surrounding each loss, has truly been shocking.
The Chargers were supposed to be a Super Bowl contender this year after a nice playoff run last year. The team looks like anything but that right now.
Fans of the Chargers are obviously unhappy with the team and are usually quick to explain how bad it is. But let’s look across the field at their Week 8 opponent, the Chicago Bears.
The Bears were also supposed to be a Super Bowl contender this season after getting to the playoffs last season and losing to the Philadelphia Eagles on Cody Parkey‘s “double doink” field goal. Many thought the Bears would have gotten to at least the conference championship with a win in that game.
But after being routed by the New Orleans Saints at home last week, there has been plenty of gloom and doom in the Windy City. Much of that has been directed at the team’s quarterback, Mitch Trubisky, who the city and fans of the team seem to be ready to replace after last week’s loss.
But let’s be honest. The Bears are not a very good team and that’s not just because of bad quarterback play. The defense, which lost its coordinator, Vic Fangio, was never going to be as good this season as it was last. Trubisky didn’t allow the Saints to put up 36 points at Soldier Field, that defense did.
Sure, Trubisky was not the best choice as the No.2 overall selection the year he was drafted, but he’s been hurt this year and after an embarrassing loss to the Saints, now it’s all his fault?
The Bears were humbled by the Green Bay Packers in the season opener and then should have lost in Week 2 to Denver and if not for a phantom time out when there was clearly no time on the clock (argue that all you want to), they would have started the season 0-2.
They then beat a terrible Washington Redskins squad before getting their first, and only, good win of the season against the Minnesota Vikings. A loss to the Oakland Raiders the following week in London showed that the Bears just aren’t that good and the loss to New Orleans the game after that put a stamp on it.
However, if you deemed this a possible Super Bowl preview when the schedule came out, many would have agreed.
Now the Chargers head into Soldier Field ready to face a Bears team that is sure to be angry. But the Chargers should take on that angry mindset. After all, they lost to the Broncos, who can’t get out of their own way, a third-string quarterback in Devlin Hodges and the Steelers and then fumbled at the goal line going in for a winning touchdown in Nashville.
The Chargers should be furious and Anthony Lynn needs to have his team play like it.
The loser of this game will not make the playoffs and it should be the Chargers who step on the Bears and make sure that they are the team that stays in the race.
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The Chargers need to attack this Bears defense. To keep Khalil Mack away from Philip Rivers, the Chargers need to establish the running game and then throw quick passes to the running backs and inside receivers.
The Saints racked up over 400 yards of offense last week (with a backup quarterback) and 151 of those yards came on the ground. Keenan Allen may not play in this game and if he does, could be limited. Rivers needs to rely on Austin Ekeler and Hunter Henry in this one.
On defense, the Chargers need to force Trubisky into mistakes and making bad plays. This is a game for the Chargers’ defense, not the Bears’ defense, even if Los Angeles is dealing with a bunch of injuries.
The Chargers won’t recover from dropping to 2-6. This is a winnable game on the road. The team that plays with the biggest sense of urgency will be the team that prevails on Sunday.