Having beat Cincinnati this past weekend, the Baltimore Ravens now prepare for a trip to the Windy City with an opportunity to get back to .500.
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1) To get back to .500, the Ravens will have to beat the 5-4 Chicago Bears. Chicago is currently 10th in Total Offense (8th in Passing Offense, 15th Rushing Offense). The Bears are 26th in Total Defense (23rd against the Pass, 31st against the Run). Chicago has just 14 sacks on the year. In the Football Outsiders DVOA Rankings, the Bears are 5th.
2) QB Jay Cutler has been ruled out, meaning Josh McCown will get the start. McCown got into Sunday’s game after Cutler went down, and had started the previous two weeks. In 70 attempts on the year, McCown is completing 60% of his passes, and his 4 TD’s against 0 picks. He does not have enough attempts to qualify, but his ESPN’s QBR Rating is currently 87. For comparison, the qualified leader is Peyton Manning at 84.1.
3) After 125 yards rushing vs. Green Bay on the 4th, Matt Forte is coming off a poor game vs. Detroit (17 carries, 33 yards). Forte is averaging 4.4 yards per carry, and has 44 catches on the year (equaling his total from last year). This is the 6th year of Forte’s career, and he has reached (or exceeded) that 44 catch total in each of those seasons. The back-up RB is Michael Bush, who joined Chicago after a strong 2011 (977 rushing yards, 37 catches) with Oakland. Bush has been a total non-factor with the Bears this year.
4) Brandon Marshall (6’4, 230 lbs) has caught at-least 81 balls in each the past 6 years (including 4 seasons with over 100). This year he already has 60 grabs, with 4 games overs 100 yards. He also has 8 TD’s on the year. Opposite of Marshall, is 2012 2nd rounder Alshon Jeffery. Jeffrey is averaging 15.6 yards per reception on 47 catches. Jeffrey has 4 games over 100 yards, including a 218 yard outing vs. New Orleans October 6th. Like Marshall, he has good size at 6’3, 216 lbs.
5) At TE is 2008 2nd rounder Martellus Bennett. Bennett’s 55 catches last year was by far his productive season to date (next closest 33 grabs in ’10). In 9 games this year, Bennett already has 40 catches.
6) LT Jermon Bushrod (Towson University) is a 2x Pro-Bowler who signed a 5 year $35M deal with Chicago this past March. Center Roberto Garza was named to the 2012 USA Today All-Joe Team. The RG is 2013 1st rounder Kyle Long (6’6, 313 lbs).
7) The LDE is 2012 1st rounder Shea McClellin. McClellin was inactive vs. Detroit with a hamstring injury. The week prior, he had 3 sacks vs. GB. The interior of the line is manned by converted DE Corey Wootton, and 2011 2nd rounder Stephen Paea. At RDE is Julius Peppers. Peppers has 113.5 career sacks (including 22.5 over the past two years), but he has just 2 in his first 9 games of 2013.
8) The LLB is James Anderson, in his first year with the Bears after the previous 7 seasons with Charlotte. The MLB is 2013 2nd rounder Jonathan Bostic. To the right of Bostic is another Rookie – 4th rounder Khaseem Greene. Greene is starting for the injured Lance Briggs (a 3x All-Pro).
9) The Bears Secondary will now have to do without 2012 All-Pro Charles Tillman, as the CB has been placed on IR with a triceps injury. Apparently Tillman struggled in coverage this year as he battled injuries. One starter at CB is 2012 Pro Bowler Tim Jennings (5’8, 185 lbs).
10) Marc Trestman is in his first year with the Bears, and is a first time NFL Head Coach. Most recently Trestman was the Head Coach of the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL, winning the Coach of the Year award in 2009.