Buffalo Bills: Learning more about the Chicago Bears before Week 9

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Buffalo Bills are set to take on a tough Chicago Bears team this Sunday. We caught up with Bear Goggles On to learn more.

The Buffalo Bills are in the midst of a short week as the team prepares to take on the Chicago Bears.

As of right now, it looks like Nathan Peterman will be the starting quarterback. Fantastic.

To learn more about the Bears, we caught up with Mike Burzawa of Bear Goggles On to get his insight on the team.

1. Will Khalil Mack‘s absence have a major negative effect on this defense?

MB: First, I don’t think Mack has been officially ruled out yet. Most insiders think the Bears will sit Mack one more week considering the Bills’ struggles on offense and a string of three division games in the row coming up for the Bears in an 11-day span starting next Sunday. As tight as the NFC North race has been, those games are worth a little extra to the Bears.

I’ll play along and assume that Mack sits another week. The Bears defense is not nearly as stout without Mack as they are with him. Since he was injured in the first half against the Dolphins, the Bears defense gave up 31 and 38 to the Dolphins and Patriots while he was playing on one leg. The Bears opted to rest Mack last week against an offensively-challenged Jets team and the rest of the defense stepped up and held the Jets to 10 points.

Look for guys like Akiem Hicks, Aaron Lynch and Leonard Floyd to try to step up in the pass rushing department to pressure Nathan Peterman. Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is not known for blitzing and prefers to pressure with stunts and scheme, but considering the Bears have struggled to get sacks in recent weeks, they might dial up some pressures where rookie Roquan Smith or nickel back Bryce Callahan come on blitzes.

2. Who is the main weapon on offense that will give the Bills defense fits all game?

MB: You mean besides Mitch Trubisky? The Bears have done a great job spreading the ball around. Allen Robinson, who is probably the Bears No. 1 receiver, has been hampered by a gimpy groin and might miss the game.

Trubisky has been building chemistry with his speed threats like Taylor Gabriel and running back Tarik Cohen. Those guys can give the Bills fits with their speed and yards after the catch. Another nice target has been rookie wide receiver, Anthony Miller. Miller has three touchdowns and seems to be gaining Trubisky’s confidence.

3. Are the Bears legitimate Super Bowl contenders, in your opinion?

MB: Wow, Super Bowl contenders might be a bit premature. Heck, the Bears haven’t so much as sniffed the playoffs since 2010. I think just getting to the playoffs would be a year ahead of schedule and is certainly a goal considering the Bears enter Week 9 as leaders of the NFC North, which is a deep division but probably not as strong as we all believed before the season started. The Bears have three division games the rest of November, so that will tell us where they really stand.

In the NFC, I think you’ve got the Rams and the Saints as the top Super Bowl contenders (that will be a heck of a game on Sunday BTW), and then maybe a team out of the NFC North if they can get hot. Will that be the Bears? It’s possible as the offense continues to grow and the defense gets healthy with Mack’s return.

4. What would the Bears need to do poorly for the Bills to come away victorious in this game? Could it be a trap game for the Bears?

MB: The matchup that scares me the most on Sunday is when the Bears have the ball. The Bills defense is legit and I’m afraid they could force some mistakes out of Trubisky who has improved throughout the season but has still had his moments where his inexperience shows.

Another challenge for the Bears offense has been the running game. They haven’t been able to get Jordan Howard going much aside from some garbage time yards last week. The Bears rushing average has been inflated by Trubisky rushing and some Cohen plays. With former Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long out for the foreseeable future, that could further hurt the Bears running game.

5. What is your prediction for the game?

MB: I think the Bears will come out on top but it’s not going to be as easy as the 10-point spread would want us to believe. I think the Bills offense will still struggle to move the ball even if Khalil Mack is wearing a tracksuit on Sunday. I think a couple of Trubisky mistakes make the game closer than it should be.

Next. Bills: 10 best seasons in franchise history. dark

I’ll predict Bears 23, Bills 17.