On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs face the Chicago Bears. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Kansas City is favored to win. We welcome Bill Zimmerman of Windy City Gridiron — our sister SB Nation site covering the Chicago Bears— for Five Questions with the Enemy.
1) Why haven’t the Bears been able to turn their fortunes around in the last decade? Is it one thing, or are there multiple factors?
The fish rots at the head. Bears ownership constantly does things backwards. The GM and the head coach need a great working relationship. That’s tough to accomplish over the last decade when they fired GM Jerry Angelo in 2012 and hired Phil Emery, ownership told him he had to keep Lovie Smith. In 2015, when Ryan Pace was hired, he was told John Fox was his coach and he didn’t get to choose. When Ryan Poles was hired in 2022, consultant Bill Polian had narrowed the coach list down to three names and Poles was told those were his only selections. Hopefully with new team President Kevin Warren in place, this organization starts doing things the right way because they certainly haven’t done that for a very long time.
2) There has been a lot of talk about the play of Justin Fields recently. What’s your take on his performances?
The way Fields has played the first two games is certainly alarming. The good news is that Justin Fields recognizes that he isn’t playing well, and based on comments he made earlier this week, he sees the same thing we are seeing out there: he’s overthinking and playing robotic. Fields said he wants to cut loose this week and play his game. That’s music to the ears of Bears fans, but even if Fields is back to the explosive player we saw in 2022, it’s still a very tall order to go into Arrowhead and pull out a victory.
3) Who (or what) have been the bright spots of this season?
There certainly haven’t been too many, that’s for sure. By bright spots, I’m going to go with a very basic formula of “who has played well in both regular season games thus far?” That’s a short list. Defensive tackle Andrew Billings has been a load in the middle and is definitely causing problems for interior offensive linemen. Rookie running back Roschon Johnson has been a bright spot in both games thus far and looks like he’s going to be a really solid piece for this team. 10th overall pick Darnell Wright looks solid at right tackle. He’s had ups and downs as rookies do, but the Bears aren’t giving him much help in the blocking schemes and leaving him on an island and the results have been strong enough to show that he’s going to be a solid right tackle in this league for several years.
4) How do you expect the Bears to attack the Chiefs defense?
The worst part of the Bears offense right now is their interior offensive line. With Braxton Jones headed to IR, that’s not going to help the bookends either. What I would do (and based on the results of the first two games, there’s no certainty that Luke Getsy will do this), is to make sure Justin Fields is moving constantly. If they try to do a lot of straight up pocket protection, Chris Jones is going to eat the Bears interior for lunch and collapse the pocket. They need to roll Fields out, move the pocket around and try to keep the defensive line off balance. That will hopefully buy Fields some time because he regularly holds onto the ball longer than most quarterbacks, that’s not going to change overnight, so the Bears need to buy Fields some time and allow him to see the field. If they keep Fields in the pocket, it’s going to be a very long day for the Bears offense.
5) The Chiefs are big favorites, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Can the Bears win against the odds? Also, who’s your tip for an anytime touchdown?
There’s no reason right now to expect the Bears to be able to cover this point spread. I expect the Chiefs to win by three touchdowns. The Bears are in total disarray. The offense is starting to point fingers and that’s on top of the mysterious resignation of defensive coordinator Alan Williams that has the entire city wondering what’s going on and the Bears refuse to provide even the slightest bit of information on that situation. Hopefully Fields plays more of his game and the offense looks better, but the Bears are in the middle of a 12-game losing streak where they’ve allowed 25 or more points in every game. There’s no reason to think that Patrick Mahomes and this offense (despite their early struggles) can’t hang a number north of 40 on this defense. There’s not much value in Justin Fields as an anytime touchdown. Your best bets are going to be DJ Moore through the air, or Roschon Johnson on the ground.