NFL 2019 (Week 16): Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears

Russell S. Baxter

NFL 2019 (Week 16): Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears

By Jesse Pierson

Special to Pro Football Guru

This is a classic offense vs. defense matchup, but the added intrigue comes from it being a rare late season interconference game. Kansas City has already wrapped up the AFC West but needs to win out and have the Patriots lose once more to overtake them as the second-seed and get a bye. No one wants to play in Arrowhead Stadium in January, so the rest of the AFC (outside of Baltimore) is on notice. Chicago is three games out of the playoff race with only two games to play, so their only remaining motivation is to play spoiler for Kansas City and Green Bay as well as testing Mitchell Trubisky’s long-term viability as the franchise quarterback. The Bears will roll out their feisty defense to counter Patrick Mahomes’ high-powered offense. Chicago ranks eighth in the league in yards allowed and third in points, while the Chiefs are fifth in yards gained and fourth in points. Kansas City has only scored under 23 points once this season, in a loss to Indianapolis. The Bears, on the other hand, have held eight opponents under 20 points, winning five of those games. The team that establishes its preferred style of play will likely come out on top Sunday night.

Chiefs: Mahomes will almost surely cede his MVP trophy to Lamar Jackson this year, but the third-year gunslinger still plays with an undeniable flair. Mahomes has a nearly 6:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and usually throws at least one pass per game that no other quarterback in the league would dare to uncork. Even more remarkably, most of those passes are completed for big gains and touchdowns. The Chiefs struggled without their star player, as one would assume, but the team is largely healthy now and is carrying a four-game winning streak into Chicago Sunday night. Kansas City’s momentum, however, is due in large part to its defensive resurgence. In the last month, Steve Spagnuolo’s unit has held the Chargers and Patriots under 20 points and the Raiders and Broncos to single digits. The Bears’ sputtering unit should come as no challenge to this group, but it is vital to continue playing and preparing well in anticipation of a playoff run. Expect Chris Jones and Tyrann Mathieu to continue playing at a high level to steer the defense to success.

Bears: After Sunday’s loss to the Packers, Trubisky aired some grievances about the game plan that saw him sacked three times and picked off twice. Head coach Matt Nagy surely has a gripe or two about Trubisky’s play this season, but the two are inexorably joined at the hip and must find a way to coexist in order to stay in Chicago for years to come. The Bears are yielding only 18.1 points per game thanks to Chuck Pagano and Khalil Mack, yet the Nagy/Trubisky alliance is putting up a measly 18.3 points. Production like that will simply not suffice, and two upsets to end the season on a good note will stave off some of the heat that comes with middling quarterback play and coaching. It is unlikely that any major moves are made this offseason, but the Bears need a win all the same.

Prediction: Mahomes eludes Mack all night, and the Chiefs continue their roll.

Kansas City Chiefs 27, Chicago Bears 13

Jesse Pierson (@jessetpierson) is a former teacher and high school football coach who has written about the Colts for over a decade. He loves football, dogs, food, and comedy, and you can follow his work on his Facebook page, Jesse Pierson, Mediocre Writer.

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