The Colts are coming off consecutive victories over the winless Minnesota Vikings and (still) winless New York Jets. Had the Colts taken care of business in Week 1 as they were expected, this could have been a match-up of two undefeated teams in Week 4. Nonetheless, the Colts have shown over the past two weeks they are a team to be reckoned with. Now it’s time they put that reputation to the test in Week 4 against the Bears.
The Chicago Bears have had an interesting, and improbable journey to 3-0 this season. After pulling off miraculous comeback wins over the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons, the Bears remain undefeated after three weeks. 3-0 is the ideal way every team wants to start the season, but the Bears have had a little more help than most: the three teams they have beaten, have a combined record of 1-8 on the season.
In Week 4, it is time to find out which teams are legit and which teams are not. That is exactly what we have here this week, with two teams looking for a statement win to show the rest of the NFL they are for real.
Here are the keys to the game for the Colts to head back to Indianapolis with a win:
1) Win the First Three Quarters:
This point seems very straightforward but it applies specifically this week more than ever. Through the first three weeks of the season, the Bears have a -19 point differential. They have performed extremely poorly early-on in their games and this gives the Colts a way to jump out early and control the game.
Looking at their point differential through three quarters you may ask, “How are they 3-0, then?” Well, the answer to that question is because they have a +31 point differential in the fourth quarter. In Week 1, they outscored the Lions 21-0 in the fourth quarter. In Week 3, they outscored the Falcons 20-0.
The Colts aren’t either of these teams. The Bears cannot continue to come back from outrageous deficits forever, and facing the league’s current #1 overall defense might be the week they learn that the hard way.
2) Don’t Let Khalil Mack Beat You:
Khalil Mack is one of the best overall defenders in the entire NFL. The former Defensive Player of the Year is capable of taking any game over at will. Through three games this season, he has 1.5 sacks and 3 quarterback hits.
Containing Khalil Mack has to be a point of interest in this game for the Colts. If Khalil Mack gets going, the Bears defense may follow behind him and cause a long day for Philip Rivers.
3) Make the Bears Beat You:
Wow, this one is some great advice. “Make the Bears beat you” — isn’t that the whole point of the game?
Yes, it is. So far, through three weeks, none of the teams the Bears have played, have followed this point. The Lions gave their game away through poor play calling, poor execution down the stretch, and a dropped touchdown pass in the final seconds. The Falcons did the same thing. Poor play calling led to shortened drives and not running down the clock in the fourth quarter. Ultimately, this allowed the Bears to get back into the game, and the rest is history.
The Bears have yet to win a game for themselves; they have been handed all three wins this season. The Colts will not do that. They are a well-coached team, led by veterans on both sides of the ball.
If the Colts can follow these three keys, stick to their game plan, play to their strengths, and force the Bears to win a game for the first time this season, they should be 3-1 after this week.
If they follow in the footsteps of the three previous teams the Bears have already played they won’t.
It’s as simple as that.