While the Colts are coming off of a dominating performance against the New York Jets that saw cornerback Xavier Rhodes earn the Defensive Player of the Week award, the Bears completed an immaculate fourth-quarter comeback in Week 3 that was led by new starting quarterback Nick Foles.
This should be a tight matchup and one that could truly go either way. Here’s an early preview for the Week 4 bout:
Colts’ keys to victory: It is vital that the Colts continue to stick to their plan on offense. They have to continue establishing the run game with rookie RB Jonathan Taylor against a Bears defense that is allowing 106.5 rushing yards per game. The offensive line has its work cut out going against DE Khalil Mack. They must keep QB Philip Rivers clean as much as possible. Rivers must continue being uber-efficient with the ball while keeping TE Mo Alie-Cox involved in the passing game. Defensively, the Colts have to get pressure on Foles with their front four led by DT DeForest Buckner and DE Justin Houston. The secondary has to contain the talents of WRs Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller, which will be no easy task.
Bears’ keys to victory: Coming off of a surprising win despite being down 26-10 in the fourth quarter, QB Nick Foles has to bring some of that magic with him. Keeping WR Allen Robinson involved is vital while RB David Montgomery has to be efficient with the expected increased workload. The offensive line has to contain the pass rush in order to give Foles a chance to make plays down the field. Defensively, DE Khalil Mack and DT Akiem Hicks have to be catalysts against a strong Colts offensive line. CB Kyle Fuller will be tasked with locking down WR T.Y. Hilton, who looks to be getting his groove back. Stopping the run will be their biggest objective on the defensive side of the ball.
Matchup to watch: Bears DE Khalil Mack vs. Colts RT Braden Smith: This is a matchup that could make or break the game for both teams. If Mack comes out and dominates, the Bears can force Rivers into making mistakes. But if Smith holds his own as one of the top young tackles in the league, the Colts offense will have a chance to control the tempo throughout the afternoon.
Who wins? The Bears have started better than most believed they would and maybe the change to Foles will spark long-term success. But the Colts are one of the hottest teams in the league led by a suffocating defense. In a close game, the Colts get their first road victory of the season. Colts 23, Bears 20