Chiefs-Bears Keys & Matchups: Can Pupil Matt Nagy Match Wits with Mentor Reid?
Matchups To Watch
Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu vs. Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky
This will be a fun chess match to pay attention to all game long. Mathieu will float all over the field giving Trubisky a lot to process and diagnose, something Trubisky hasn’t mastered yet.
Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid vs. Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy
This is the classic teacher vs. student battle. Nagy was offensive coordinator in Kansas City under Reid before taking the job in Chicago as the head man. His offense resembles the Chiefs offense, but his developing quarterback and young playmakers have forced him to water down the offense to a very basic version of the one the Chiefs run. It’ll be interesting to see what wrinkles both coaches come up with to keep the opponent on their toes.
Chiefs Defensive Tackles vs. Bears Offensive Guards
Chris Jones should draw a double team from the center and one of the guards, which should leave Derrick Nnadi or Khalen Saunders isolated on the other guard. If the Chiefs can use this to their advantage, they can collapse the pocket and turn up the heat on Trubisky.
Chiefs Offensive Tackles vs. Bears OLB Khalil Mack and Leonard Floyd
Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz have their hands full with this talented duo of edge defenders. Although Mack hasn’t looked like the dominant player he was last year, he still requires the Chiefs to pay him extra attention. Floyd’s length helps him keep the hands of tackles away from him, allowing him to win matchups and could force the Chiefs to send help to his side instead of Mack’s side.
Chiefs Return Specialist Mecole Hardman vs. Bears Kickoff Unit
Hardman has a great opportunity to use his speed and explosiveness on a kick return this week because the will give him chances for a return. Last week against the Bears, the Packers were able to get a 45-yard return that would have gone to the house had Hardman been the returner. Look for Hardman to score a special teams touchdown this week.
Keys To Victory
Don’t Let Trubisky Get Comfortable
The Bears quarterback is still growing as a player and has a lot to learn. He struggles with pre- and post-snap reads, causing him to make mistakes and bog down the offense or turn the ball over. The Chiefs need to give him different looks, constantly changing things up and bringing pressure to increase the odds they get a takeaway.
Take What the Defense
The Bears defense is a solid unit that doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, and usually makes tackles when given the opportunity. They will force you to drive the field on them, so the Kansas City offense needs to be patient, get the available yards and set up the chunk plays.
Bottle Up Patterson and Cohen
Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and running back Tarik Cohen are the two most dynamic weapons on the Bears offense, and also the two players most likely to be used in a trick play or in the screen game. Making sure to get these two down quickly and limit yards after contact is vitally important. The special teams units also need to be disciplined and contain Patterson, who is a dangerous returner.
Keep Mahomes Upright
With Mack and Floyd, keeping Mahomes off the grass is a tall task. If the Chiefs can keep Mahomes’ jersey clean, he has the talent to obliterate this defense. If Mack and Floyd run wild, however, the Bears will have a chance to stay in the game and compete.
Block Out Distractions
With a playoff spot secure and lots of talk about possibly getting a first-round bye if the cards fall their way, Kansas City has to remain focused on the game and not pay attention to all the outside noise. They have to play their game and concentrate on continuing to perfect their scheme heading into the playoffs.