How will the Bears challenge the LA Rams at SoFi Stadium?

(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /
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Offensive challenge

The LA Rams will face one of the tougher NFL defenses right out of the gates.  The Bears were just outside of the NFL’s Top-Ten defenses for yards allowed in 2020, and in the top half of the NFL defenses for points allowed. And yes, that is in an NFL season where they faced the fourth-ranked offense (Minnesota Vikings) and the fifth-ranked offense (Green Bay Packers) twice a year. They do so by a solid pass rush spearheaded by OLB Khalil Mack, and a deceptive secondary that forces many quarterbacks to pause.

But the Bears’ toughest challenge on defense seemed to be when facing Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. In two games last year, Stafford threw for 51 of 84 passes for 699 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. The Lions split the series a year ago. In those games, the Lions got huge contributions from Adrian Peterson, who rushed a combined 30 times for 150 yards and two touchdowns.

The Bears boast a savvy pass defense when they are not facing Matthew Stafford, but I think that the LA Rams open up their offense right away. You see, the Bears’ secondary has been a bit of patchwork so far this offseason, which is all the incentive for the LA Rams to test them both horizontally and vertically. You can almost feel the anticipation of the LA Rams over their new wide receiver weapon DeSean Jackson. What better time to put the NFL on notice that the Rams plan to stretch the football field than throwing to DJax on some early deep routes.

The Rams will have plenty of offensive weapons of their own to send onto the field, with Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Tyler Higbee all having played significant roles for the Rams in the past. But I like the upside of tight end, Johnny Mundt, to catch passes in this one, and I would not be surprised for the Rams to stretch the field with Van Jefferson also. Could Stafford hurl over 400 yards for the LA Rams in his debut with the team?  He’s done it against the Chicago Bears in the past, so it is nothing new for him to do so in this one.

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I believe that the Rams will find holes for their running backs as well. Darrell Henderson led the Rams ground attack with 15 carries for 63 yards in 2020. But Malcolm Brown, the Rams power runner, carried the ball just 10 times for 57 yards and a touchdown. The Rams would be well served to have Sony Michel playing in this one because he could get 100 yards on the Bears to start off the season.

We’ll be back to talk about odds, predictions, injuries, and the like later this week. This is just a first-blush overview of the Rams home opener.