Boden: The three 'Bear' necessities for matchup with Ravens

Boden: The three 'Bear' necessities for matchup with Ravens
November 17, 2013, 9:45 am
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In order to beat the Ravens:

1. Who can run?

The Bears now 15th-ranked run offense managed less than two yards a carry last week, and now faces a run D that's rated higher than Detroit's. Can they establish balance and keep Baltimore's defense honest?  If we figure Haloti Ngata finds a way to play, that's a key figure in allowing just one rushing touchdown this season and 3.7 yards per carry. Can a Bears run defense that's allowed 169 yards over the last four games "win" against a Baltimore ground game ranked 30th, averaging 73 yards a game, despite having Ray Rice?

[RELATED: Bears-Ravens: And the winner is….] 

2. Dull the "egde"

Terrell Suggs-nine sacks. Elvis Dumervil-eight sacks. The Ravens-32 sacks; tied for third in the NFL with next week's Bears opponent, the Rams. Jordan Mills has needed help as Pro Football Focus' worst-rated pass protecting tackle in the NFL (do we like him more and give him more slack because he's not J'Marcus Webb?). This line has allowed 14 sacks in nine games. What will the total be after Sunday's game?

[MORE: 'Peanut' brittle? Another key offseason call for Bears] 

3. McDown?

Josh McCown is giving the Bears backup excellence they haven't seen since Jim Miller stepped in more than a decade ago. Can he maintain that, even if the running game struggles - remain upright and find the right targets in a timely manner to keep this club's fading playoff hopes alive? It'll be instrumental if the two points above become a struggle.