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Know the KC Chiefs' Week 3 Opponent: Key Facts About the Chicago Bears

The Chiefs' quest for their first home win of the season comes against a struggling Bears team with plenty to improve on.

In a matchup that looked slightly more enticing weeks ago, the Kansas City Chiefs prepare to host a wounded, winless Chicago Bears team aspiring to pull off the week’s biggest upset.

Despite improvements from Weeks 1 to 2, Chicago inevitably finds itself on history’s bad side. Recently becoming the only team ever to lose 12 consecutive games while allowing 25-plus in each, insult was added to injury with this:

As for Kansas City, they enter the schedule's perceived "easy" portion — their next six opponents are a combined 1-11 — with a chance at a stranglehold on the AFC West within reach.

Here are some factors ahead of Sunday’s duel:

Chicago’s defense is “in no rush”

If 2023’s early-season trends mean anything, the Chiefs’ laundry department could be in for a peaceful gathering.

Patrick Mahomes enters Sunday battling a defense that has just one sack in 2023 and ranked dead last last season with 20.

Under Matt Eberflus, Chicago’s defensive scheme relies primarily on its front four. The good news? The pass rush has been historic. The bad news? It isn’t for the right reasons.

Mahomes, likewise, has endured just one sack in 2023. Assuming Chicago pressures the scoreboard enough to force him to keep passing, that just-fast-enough-to-avoid-a-defender speed should be on display.

Do the Bears return to what works?

Once upon a time — all the way back in 2022 — Chicago became NFL history’s fifth team to compile 3,000 single-season rushing yards. Amidst the surprising 0-2 start, the most perplexing revelation is how seldom-utilized it's been in 2023. 

Excuses are available; they haven’t started the same offensive line combination since 2022's Week 13. But a No. 26-ranked run frequency and just two designed runs for Justin Fields (No. 2 in designed runs (73) and No. 1 in yards (470) among 2022 quarterbacks) feels illegal.

As the rap on Fields goes, “He puts the fear of God into defenses … right up until the ball leaves his hands.” Chicago, curiously, has the seventh-highest pass rate, which has gone "fantastic" outside of:

receivers running the same routes
— the NFL-low aDOT rank (4.5)
Fields’s “controller lag” on anticipation throws
— Chicago knows the plays … but so do opponents

Many of Chicago’s few bright spots reside through the ground game. Khalil Herbert was No. 1 in yards over expectation per carry in 2022 (min. 100 carries). We heard about how demonstrative the Bears' offense was in private, controlled offseason settings but when opened up to the public, they've been quiet. Is this the week they turn the volume up?


For as long as Bears have existed in Chicago, the principles have always been the same: maintain a defensive-minded, run-first, run-second, and maybe run-third approach. These aren’t your father’s Bears, and they've been everything but that on defense.

Ranking last in sacks (20) and third down defensive stop percentage (49.0), Chicago did the almost sensible thing by allocating funds to important-but-not-premium positions, attempting to adjust its fortunes. They went from No. 32 in said stats to No. 31.

The third down hiccups are likely to reappear on Sunday. The manner in which they’ve struggled here remains incredibly concerning.

Transitioning to Patrick Mahomes (the NFL’s best on third-and-5+) from Jordan Love and Baker Mayfield (um, Jordan Love and Baker Mayfield) proves troublesome.

In Sneed’s shadow

In a world of draw 2’s, Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo unleashed the "draw 4" against Jacksonville, allowing his corners — namely L’Jarius Sneed — to travel across the formation with No. 1 wideout Calvin Ridley.

Sneed stuck to Ridley’s side like luggage at the airport. With occasional safety help, he allowed just a 60.8 QBR and 45.5 completion percentage on 11 targets, furthering his case as (perhaps) the NFL’s most underrated corner. Week 3's challenge: Chicago's DJ Moore.

Moore’s usage has been awkward; there’s a very un-WR1-like nine targets through two games, and just one target in short-or-medium distances. The range of outcomes is wide. Kansas City could utilize the “Sneed Shadow” again, they could “ignore” the other wideouts, shading coverage his way as Green Bay did, or Chicago’s offense could simply self-destruct. Though Moore, No. 5 last season in catches of 20-plus yards (18), commands a note.

Nagy’s return

After a tumultuous four-year run as Chicago's head coach, Matt Nagy gets the opportunity to observe the reality show unfold from the opposing side.

The blame doesn’t lie solely on him, but his return's first two games haven’t aligned precisely to plan, with No. 19 and No. 21 respective ranks in pass and rush EPA and eighth-highest penalty count. A date with a defense allowing 32.5 points per game with zero turnovers could be what the doctor ordered. 

Perhaps most reassuring is that Kansas City’s offensive miscues have come through their own undoing. Cleaning up penalties, drops, extending drives and avoiding getting too “cute” in short-yardage situations soon provides the chance to do the once-unthinkable: boast a top-5 offense and defense.

A declawed defense

Kansas City, rightfully, enters as 12.5-point favorites. Both injury reports, though, could influence that spread's accuracy.

The Chiefs’ injury list features high-profile talent, potentially undermining their ability to test an equally banged-up Chicago secondary. Fortunes have gotten so testy that in Tampa, they started their backup’s backup. 2022 second-rounder Kyler Gordon hit injured reserve and Josh Blackwell missed Week 2. Two commercial breaks later, former All-Pro safety Eddie Jackson was carted off. There might not be a more vulnerable group. 

Offenses have found a particular liking in targeting 2023 second-rounder Tyrique Stevenson, who has had several “welcome to the NFL” moments. Despite production in the run support, he’s allowed 182 yards, 15.2 yards per target and a 148.3 QBR — all bottom-10.

If the Bears' Week 1 loss was a “bump in the road," Week 2 may have been a traffic jam. Week 3 might end up being the pothole that forces Chicago to change a tire or two.

Score Prediction: Chiefs 37, Bears 16