|ESPN.com: Chicago Bears||[Print without images]|
|Frankly put, Kansas City quarterback Tyler Palko might be in over his head, and even if head coach Todd Haley decides at some point to go with Kyle Orton, the Chiefs would still be in major trouble. Perhaps collectively the Chiefs are better at the position. But Caleb Hanie seems to be the better starting quarterback in this game if the Chiefs decide to go with Palko.|| |
|Former Bears running back Thomas Jones is one of just two active running backs in the NFL to have rushed for 10,000 yards or more. Jones can still be productive, but he’s not as talented as Matt Forte, who has developed into one of the league’s elite. Throw in bruiser Marion Barber and the Bears are better stocked at this position.|
|Both Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston average at least 14 yards per reception, and Bowe has scored 19 touchdowns from 2010 to 2011, which ranks as the fourth-highest TD total in the NFL over that span. While Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett and Roy Williams haven’t been as productive as Bowe and Breaston individually, collectively they might be the better group even though we’ll give the Chiefs the edge here.|
|The Chiefs have given up just one less sack (26) than the Bears. But Chicago’s line has paved the better way for better team rushing numbers. A 2008 Pro Bowler, Chiefs Center Casey Wiegmann is 38 years old and has been limited at practice all week (finger), along with guard Ryan Lilja (head). Chicago’s offensive line, meanwhile, continues to make strides despite all the changes.|
|Defensive end Julius Peppers was recently named NFC Defensive Player of the Month, and leads the team with eight sacks. Hands down, Peppers will be the best defensive lineman on the field. The Chiefs have generated just 13 sacks, with more than half of those coming from linebacker Tamba Hali. So other than ends Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson, the Chiefs aren’t getting much production from the defensive line.|
|Lance Briggs just reached the 100-tackle plateau for the eighth consecutive season, Brian Urlacher needs just eight stops against the Chiefs to reach the century mark for the 11th-straight year. Strong side linebacker Nick Roach has put together a couple of strong performances in recent outings, giving the Bears plenty of confidence in the position. Kansas City’s Derrick Johnson and Hali are impact players. But Chicago has the stronger overall crew.|
Chicago’s passing defense ranks No. 30 with the Bears allowing an average of 270.5 passing yards per game. The Chiefs are 12th against the pass with every starter in a secondary comprised of Kendrick Lewis, Jon McGraw, Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr having intercepted at least two passes apiece. The Bears have improved because of better safety play between Chris Conte and Major Wright. But the Chiefs are more consistent.
|Devin Hester struggled somewhat last week against the Raiders, which probably fielded the best special-teams unit the Bears will see for the rest of the season. But the Chiefs aren’t slouches in that department. The Chiefs’ kickoff-coverage unit allows a 19.6-yard average on kickoffs, which ranks as best in the league. Still, they’re no match for Hester, and Knox as return men or Bears kicker Robbie Gould and punter Adam Podlesh.|
|The Chiefs find themselves in a difficult situation having started the season on a three-game losing streak, before going on a four-game streak before going back on another skid (four games). Chiefs coach Todd Haley has put together a competitive team that has struggled with injuries; especially at quartertback. Bears coach Lovie Smith is in the same situation regarding injuries at quarterback. Ultimately, the experience of Smith and his staff win out over Kansas City, which also has a solid staff.|
| The Bears don’t typically repeat mistakes. So don’t expect them to duplicate the first half of last week’s game when they came out to a conservative game plan that contributed to Hanie struggling. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz said that Hanie performed better in the second half once they unleashed the full playbook. So expect for the Bears to open things up early. But also anticipate a healthy dose of the rushing attack led by Forte and Barber to take pressure of Hanie. Defensively, this could be a game in the Bears could score points off turnovers, and that will likely be accomplished regardless of what quarterback -- whether it’s Palko or Orton -- lines up under center for the Chiefs.
|PREDICTION: Bears 20, Chiefs 10|