Week 10 Nuts & Bolts: Bears at Titans
CHICAGO BEARS vs. TENNESSEE TITANSWhen: Noon Sunday | TV: Fox, locally: Ch. 32 WFLD-TV
RADIO: 780 AM, WBBM & 105.9 FM; WLEY (107.9 FM)
CHICAGO BEARS (6-1)
Coach: Lovie Smith | Record including playoffs: 77-58
Career record (including playoffs) vs. Mike Munchak: 0-0 | Career record vs. Titans: 1-1
Last week: Defeated Carolina Panthers 23-22.
Key stat: The Bears are one of four teams in the NFL to rank in the top 10 in both scoring offense and defense. The Bears average 26.4 points per game, which ranks eighth and the defense allows 14.3 points per game (second). Interestingly, 2006 marked the last time the team ranked in the top 10 in points scored (second) and points allowed (third).
Offense rank: 26th (319.6 ypg) | Defense rank: sixth (316 ypg).
Offensive leader: Jay Cutler comes off a strong fourth-quarter performance in the team’s win over the Panthers, and it’s apparent this team only goes as far as the quarterback takes it. With the Bears holding leads late in all but two games, Cutler’s passer rating in the fourth quarter has been 132.0.
Defensive leader: Cornerback Charles Tillman won NFC Player of the Month in October after returning two interceptions for touchdowns in addition to holding Lions receiver Calvin Johnson to a season-low 34 yards on three receptions when the teams met on Oct. 22. Tillman hasn’t given up a TD all season, and opposing quarterbacks own a 44.7 passer rating when throwing on the cornerback.
The Bears have intercepted a pass in every game this season and have scored on an INT return in three of the past four contests.
Cutler has thrown for at least one touchdown in four consecutive games.
Patrick Mannelly will extend his record for most games played in a Bears uniform to 223 against the Titans.
Cornerback Tim Jennings has picked off a pass in six of his past eight games.
TENNESSEE TITANS (3-5)
Coach: Mike Munchak | Record: 12-12
Career head-to-head record vs. Smith: 0-0 | Career record vs. Bears: 0-0
Last week: Lost to Indianapolis Colts 19-13 in OT
Key stat: The Titans own a 3-1 record this season in games decided by seven points or fewer and a 3-0 mark in outings decided by three or fewer. Since 1999, the Titans are 32-22 in games decided by three points or fewer and 58-38 in games decided by seven or fewer.
Offense rank: 24th (326.4 ypg) | Defense rank: 21st (421.3 ypg).
Offensive leader: Running back Chris Johnson rushed for 99 yards in the loss to the Colts and has gained 90 yards rushing or more in four of the past five games. Despite Johnson’s uncanny ability to go the distance on any given play, the last time the Titans faced the Bears, the running back gained just 8 yards on 14 attempts.
Defensive leader: Defensive end Kamerion Wimbley joined the Titans in March after two seasons with the Oakland Raiders. In 2011, Wimbley posted a sack against the Bears and returned an interception off Caleb Hanie 73 yards. Wimbley has 42.5 career sacks, including 2.5 so far this season.
Receiver Nate Washington has caught at least one pass in 70 consecutive games, and leads the Titans with 443 receiving yards this season.
The Titans have scored on their opening drive in three consecutive games, which is interesting considering the Bears are 31-34 since 2004 when the opponent scores first and 1-1 in those circumstances this season.
QB Matt Hasselbeck needs one touchdown pass to tie Roman Gabriel for 31st on the NFL’s all-time list at 201 and three to tie Jim Everett (203) at No. 30.