PFF Preview: Bears @ Patriots, Week 8
The (3-4) Chicago Bears head to Foxborough on Sunday to play the (5-2) New England Patriots. All three of the Bears wins have come on the road and a win here would keep them within striking distance of the (5-2) Lions and Packers in the NFC North. The Patriots will come into Sunday well rested after beating the Jets on Thursday night in Week 7. The Patriots are a perfect (3-0) at Gillette Stadium this year and be aware it is supposed to be quite windy this week.
It will be interesting to see how the Patriots pressure Jay Cutler with the loss of star pass rusher Chandler Jones. Dont’a Hightower is the only other front seven defender that owns a noteworthy pass rushing grade with a +2.1 mark, but that comes with only 59 pass rush opportunities. New England did acquire former Tennessee Titans’ linebacker Akeem Ayers this week, but Ayers has only seen the field for 10 snaps this season. The Patriots are hoping he can be as effective as he was in 2013 when he had a +7.8 pass rushing grade.
The Bears counter with Jermon Bushrod and Jordan Mills at the tackle positions. Bushrod has been right around average with a +0.7 pass blocking grade. Mills has struggled as his –11.5 pass blocking grade and 93.4 Pass Block Efficiency rating both rank towards the bottom out of all tackles.
Here are a few other players to watch for.
Matt Forte – Forte’s +6.7 overall grade ranks fourth and his +6.7 pass receiving grade tops all running backs. His 1.96 Yards Per Route Run trails only Arizona’s Andre Ellington.
Martellus Bennett – His +11.1 overall grade paces all tight ends while his 14 forced missed tackles also leads the position.
Jay Ratliff – With a +4.2 grade in both pass rushing and against the run, Ratliff is showing his all-around skills. He’s currently our 11th ranked defensive tackle/nose tackle.
New England Patriots
Rob Gronkowsi – He’s starting to regain his old form as his +6.4 receiving grade ranks second overall behind only Greg Olsen in our tight end grading.
Devin McCourty – Our Safeties Coverage signature stat shows McCourty only allowing a reception once every 38.3 coverage snaps and only allowing a total of 56 receiving yards.
Sebastian Vollmer – Vollmer’s 96.5 Pass Blocking Efficiency rating ranks ninth out of all tackles and his +6.0 pass blocking grade ties him for eighth.
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