Despite a 6-1 start for just the eighth time in the history of the franchise, concern around the Chicago Bears offense continues to be a major topic of discussion in and around the city of Chicago. However, with the Bears set to take on one of the league’s worst defenses on Sunday when they travel to Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans, expect to see an uptick in production as the offense prepares for a brutal second-half schedule.
The Titans have given up a mind-boggling 257 points through eight games, which is the highest total in the league (though the Buffalo Bills technically rank last having given up 227 points in one less game). The Bears, on the other hand, actually rank eighth in the NFL in scoring. Granted, that number is heavily influenced by Chicago’s six defensive scores on the season.
Unfortunately for the Bears, sustaining drives and consistently moving the football has been a bit more difficult so far in 2012. The Bears are 26th in the NFL in total offense, averaging just 319.6 yards per game, and on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers they were only able to muster 210 yards from scrimmage.
The Titans may not pose much of a threat on Sunday, but the Bears offense will have to take advantage of a favorable matchup and find a rhythm that carries over into Weeks 10 and 11 when the Bears take on the Houston Texans and the San Francisco 49ers in a pair of critical prime time games.
Chicago’s biggest problems offensively have come in pass protection, but luckily the Titans don’t have any true semblance of a pass rush, meaning the Bears and quarterback Jay Cutler should be poised for a big day. The Titans have the fourth-fewest number of sacks in the NFL, and when the Bears squared off against the dead-last Jaguars they put up over 500 yards of total offense for the first time since the George H. W. Bush administration.
After last week’s misery, the Bears could use another huge performance like that offensively to build a little momentum into an eight-game stretch where the only team they’ll play currently under .500 is the Detroit Lions on the road in a Week 17 matchup.
Much has been made of what exactly this team is offensively: Are they the team we’ve seen in the second half of so many games this year? Or are they the team that we’ve seen through the first two quarters (and against the Green Bay Packers in Week Two) that resembles the 2011 unit that struggled?
Sunday against the Titans may not give us any tangible answers — given the porousness of Tennessee’s defense — but going out and getting the job done in what essentially amounts to a beauty contest may give them the confidence they need the rest of the way.