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Matchups Bears Need to Win to Avoid Being the Rams

The incredible upset of the Rams by the New York Jets and loss by the Pittsburgh Steelers to Cincinnati should alert the Bears about looking past anyone, but they can ensure a solid victory over Jacksonville by winning several controllable matchups

A 1-13 record like Jacksonville has is not accomplished by failures at one or two positions.

Rather, the Bears' opponents for this week has a few effective players like running back James Robinson and quarterback Gardner Minshew.

However, the sum total of the Jaguars' effort over 60 minutes always has come up with failure since Week 1, when they stunned the Indianapolis Colts.

This should alert the Bears because they were the ones who looked entirely overwhelmed when facing the Colts.

There are a few Jacksonville players who do appear overmatched against Bears starters and these are matchups Chicago must win to avoid an even bigger mistake than the Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers made against struggling teams.

Because, in the Bears' case, if they make this mistake it will ensure their season ends after Week 17.

Here are the matchups the Bears should own:

Bears OLB Khalil Mack vs. RT Jawaan Taylor

Mack has applied steady pressure each of the last two games despite the usual tactics of double-teaming, chipping, and strangles around the neck which go uncalled. He had a sack and a half, a safety and seems to have found a higher level despite numerous minor injuries. Taylor has struggled as a pass blocker all season after being solid, bordering on strong, last year. He has a pass-blocking grade of 50.5 from Pro Football Focus and has allowed eight sacks on the year, the second-highest total allowed in the league at his position according to PFF. Taylor is 6-foot-5, 312, and has good quickness but not the overwhelming strength some right tackle maulers possess. He's in his second season and hasn't faced Mack. Mack's favorite power moves along the edge could work to disrupt Jacksonville's offense but Bears pass rushers do have to be aware of Minshew's ability to move.

Bears G Cody Whitehair vs Jaguars DT Doug Costin

Whitehair threw possibly the most powerful block of the year last week for the Bears on a David Montgomery run and registered a pancake. Whitehair and center Sam Mustipher have a good sense of how to get into the second level to occupy linebackers or strong safeties. Whitehair isn't a massive blocker who overwhelms but wins with technique and can find this a better matchup since Costin is not an oversized two-gapper at 6-2, 295. Costin is a steady player but part of the reason the Jaguars struggle to stop the run. 

Bears TE Cole Kmet vs. Jaguars SS Josh Jones

After a few weeks blossoming, Kmet was held to two receptions last week when the Bears had to worry about strong safety Harrison Smith, one of the best in the business. Kmet was a heavy contributor in the running game as a blocker, though. Kmet has 11 catches for 90 yards in the last three games as the Bears have tried to defenses choose between covering him or covering deeper against wide receivers on bootleg passes. Jones has been more of a help in run support than in pass coverage as he doesn't have a pass defensed. He has a passer rating against of 122.8 when targeted, according to Sportradar, and allows an 87.5% completion rate.

Bears WR Allen Robinson II vs. Jaguars CB Chris Claybrooks

Claybrooks returned from injured reserve last week and made little impact with two tackles. He's giving up 5 inches to Robinson and during this season has a 146.6 rating against with 76.9% of passes completed when targeted. Last week they inserted Greg Mabin at the position and he actually matches up better with the 6-2 Robinson because he's 6-1 and plays physical. He's not much different in effectiveness, as he has a 123.9 passer rating allowed. Mabin gave up Dez Bryant's TD catch last week. Robinson was shut down in terms of overall receptions by the Vikings' young defenders last week, although he did pile up 83 yards. He'll no doubt be out to make a statement as he goes against the franchise he started with before a torn ACL in 2017. Robinson will also be playing after being snubbed in Pro Bowl voting for the second straight year.

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