Bears skate on thin ice ahead of Week 13 game against Cardinals


TEMPE – It’s been a season to forget for the Chicago Bears.

After establishing a 3-2 record in the first five weeks of the season, the Bears have abandoned their next five encounters, including a 38-3 on drums at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 7.

Chicago was able to stop the bleeding in Week 12, but not by much, taking a 16-14 victory over the Detroit Lions 0-10-1. The win gives the team the slimmest playoff hope yet.

This Sunday, the Bears secure a 9-2 team from the Arizona Cardinals looking to improve their playoff standings. The Bears are going from the worst to the first and not in a good way.

Along with facing the league’s best in Arizona, they must look to quarterback Andy Dalton for Sunday’s meeting with rookie caller Justin Fields (ribs) sent off by head coach Matt Nagy on Friday.

While Dalton struggled for most of his time on the court this season, he had a 300-yard performance and one scorecard in the win over the Lions.

Even with the exit, Chicago is still at the bottom of the NFL’s barrel in terms of passing yards per game at 169.8.

However, things aren’t bad with the Bears’ offense, which boasts the league’s eighth-best rushing offense (126.3 yards per game) behind David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert.

In seven games played, Montgomery racked up 476 yards and three touchdowns on 113 carries. Herbert amassed 373 additional yards and a score on 90 attempts in 11 outings. The two full-backs are north of four yards per carry.

The pair are likely facing a heavy workload on Sunday, which will have to navigate without their third-highest team rusher at Fields (311 yards and two TDs) as well as the cold weather that is expected to hit Soldier Field.

Chicago also has a threat in the air in wide-out Darnell Mooney, who paces the team in catches (46), yards (694) and touchdowns (3).

“They’ve got a lot of great guys,” defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said Thursday. “Montgomery is an NFL fullback who runs hard and breaks tackles. … They had a receiver in Mooney, who I think played in back-to-back 100-yard games. You look at him, he’s a playmaker. It’s amazing that you don’t see the teams every week or every two weeks.

“There are so many good players in this league. Each team has them. The challenge will be to… conquer what they do best, make them one-dimensional and play on our terms. … It won’t be easy, it never is.

The name of the game for the Cardinals for most of the season has been to stop the race. It couldn’t be truer in week 13.


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