The Chicago Bears travel to face off against the Arizona Cardinals as the Bears try to take hold of their playoff hopes. The game will be at 4:25 pm eastern time and will be shown on FOX.
Why you should watch: The Bears were once in the driver’s seat of the NFC, but have stumbled lately and are now on the outside looking in. If the season ended today, the Bears would miss the playoffs and need some help in order to get in. They currently sit behind the Vikings in the division and need to win in order to make the playoffs this season. Another late season collapse could spell the end of the Lovie Smith regime, but rallying the team to the playoffs could keep him around for longer, as well as propelling the Bears to the postseason with some momentum in hand.
What to watch for: The Cardinals’ quarterbacks have been, quite simply, terrible this year. Though they were able to beat the Lions at home last week, Ryan Lindley threw for only 100 yards and an interception, and all of the damage was on interception returns and rushing touchdowns. Arizona has not had a passing touchdown since week 9 against the Packers, and their offense has been a lesson in futility all season. The Bears have been excellent on defense, and this one could be another ugly affair with several turnovers, and possibly even defensive scores.
Key matchups: The Bears can dominate this game if they establish the run early and use it to create space for Jay Cutler and the wide receivers. Brandon Marshall can take over any game, and the most important matchup will be him against the Cardinals defense. The Bears defense can do enough to stifle the Cardinals on offense, so that will just leave the Bears offense with the task of scoring enough points to win. Marshall is a key part of that, and I will be watching to see how he does.
The Pick: I think the Bears will roll in this one, 31-10. The Cardinals simply have not played well all season and their offense is in shambles. Even Larry Fitzgerald can not produce with the sorry state of the quarterback position there. The Bears defense will come through and the offense will simply have to control the ball to ice this one off.