The 10-2 New England Patriots will travel to take on the 9-3 Chicago Bears. For the second week in a row the Patriots will face one of the NFL’s top defensive teams.
The Patriots are riding high coming off their absolute thrashing of the New York Jets on Monday Night Football. The Bears are coming off a victory against the Lions, but needed a surge in the second half in order to escape with the W.
Once again the Patriots are involved in the marquee matchup of the week, two powerhouse teams looking to further make a statement to the league and control their playoff destiny. The Patriots can clinch a spot with a win this weekend. The Bears are riding a 5 game winning streak and need to keep pushing forward as they cling to a 1 game lead in the division and face a brutal schedule (Vikings, Jets, Packers) to close out the season.
Key Match ups:
Tom Brady Vs Jay Cutler
Tom Brady is having an MVP caliber year, back to back 4 TD games, 7 games without a pick and a 17-0 TD/Int ratio over his last 7 games. The Bears hold opposing QB’s to a 71.1 passer rating per game. Brady will need to make use of his multitude of weapons in order to keep the relentless Bears D at bay. Jay Cutler is coming off two straight solid games, and the success will continue if he remains mistake free. The key to beating the Patriots is through the air and Cutler has the ability to do so. Cutler’s teams are 19-0 lifetime when his QB rating is over 100.
Devin Hester Vs Patriot Special Teams
Hester has reverted to his old self averaging 15.1 yards per punt return with 7 returns over 20 yards, 4 returns over 40 yards and 2 TD’s. If you can win two phases of the game you’ll usually win the game. The Patriots are one of the better teams giving up only 7.2 yards per punt return. However, this will need to continue in order for the Patriots to be victorious. The Patriots defense is not good enough to stop teams on a consistent basis let alone when they have to take the field with a team set up nicely with a long return.
Ben Jarvis Green Ellis Vs Bears D
The Bears enter the week #2 overall in rushing yards allowed per game giving up 84.9 per contest. Facing a similar foe in the New York Jets, BJGE stepped and and delivered 72 yards rushing and 2 TD’s. The addition of Logan Mankins has helped take the Patriot offense to the next level. The Bears will need to make a statement early that they can and will shut down the effective Patriot running game.
Some stats that may shock you:
The Patriots are the first team in NFL history to average over 30 points without committing a turnover in a 4 game span.
Tom Brady is the 14th QB to throw for at least 250 career TD’s and his total of 252 puts him 1 ahead of Drew Bledsoe on the all time list.
BJGE is the first undrafted Patriot to score at least 10 TD’s in a season.
Devin McCourty now has an Int in 3 straight games.
Jay Culter is 19-0 for his career when his passer rating is over 100.
This game is the only game this week where both teams have a winning record.
Danny Woodhead is the first Patriot running back to have 100 receiving yards in a game since Kevin Faulk in 2003.