The Bears have put themselves in good position to make a push for the playoffs. They are tied with the Packers for the NFC North Division lead, but they beat the Packers in their first meeting. So, technically, they lead the division by virtue of tiebreaker. Plus, they are 3-0 in their division games. These will be key factors later in the season if the Bears continue to compete for the division title or a playoff spot.
Bears vs. Dolphins Preview
I haven't seen the Dolphins play much this year, but I do know that they seem to be a better road team than home team. Four of their five wins have come on the road. I have no idea what that means, but I'm glad the Bears are taking their talents to South Beach on Thursday. Plus, the 'Phins are down to their third QB Tyler Thigpen. Normally, facing a third-string QB is a guaranteed win. But Thigpen has had some moderate success when given the chance to play over his career. This is still a good opportunity for the Bears, but Thigpen being the QB doesn't guarantee a victory for the Bears.
Miami is basically a middle of the road team. Their defense is pretty good (top 10 overall) and their offense is ranked 16th overall. They are -5 in the turnover ratio, so that should bode well for the Bears who are +3. With Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown, I'm sure the Dolphins will try to establish a running game while using some sort of Wildcat offense. But, the Bears have been dominant against the run this year. If they can force Thigpen to beat them, it should be another good week for Bears fans.
Devin Hester should be able to capitalize against a pretty bad Miami special teams unit. Their kickoff team is ranked 30th in the league. Maybe tomorrow night will be the night that Hester breaks the all-time return TD record. Even if he doesn't take one all the way, he should be able to help the offense with great field position just like he did last week. I'm hoping they keep him on kickoff returns because he has re-established himself as a true difference maker in that capacity.
The Bears offensive line has allowed two sacks in the past two games, which is stunning. In October, it seemed like they were giving up two sacks per play. If they can continue their solid play, all will be right in Bears land. Cutler has helped, too, with his willingness to escape the pocket and find open receivers down field. He's also done a great job of running when there has been space in front of him. Martz has done a good job the past few weeks with his play calling which has helped keep defenses off balance. This has allowed Cutler to play with confidence. As long as he realizes he can't actually throw the ball through defenders, the Bears offense will continue to improve.
The short week will hurt the Bears less because Cutler will be far more prepared than Thigpen, who obviously hasn't been getting many practice reps this year. Plus, their defense and special teams will be too much for the Dolphins to handle. This would be a big win for the Bears, especially with the red-hot Michael Vick next on the schedule.
Bears 24, Dolphins 15