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Week 5 Preview: Bears at Chiefs

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Chicago Bears (1-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-3)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo. – TV: FOX

*TV announcers: Sam Rosen, John Lynch, Pam Oliver

*Keys to the game: RB Matt Forte leads the NFL with 500 yards from scrimmage and the Bears might need a superhuman effort from him Sunday with health concerns all across the offensive line. To keep QB Jay Cutler out of harm’s way, the Bears look for balance to prevent the Chiefs from folding their front five – likely to use their eighth different combination after C Will Montgomery went on IR and with OG Patrick Omameh (ankle) hurt — with one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL.

Pass protection breakdowns are nothing new to the Chiefs, who are on pace to allow 76 sacks of QB Alex Smith, right as the Bears appear to be gaining confidence in coordinator Vic Fangio’s 3-4 scheme. The risk in blitzing up the gut is RB Jamaal Charles being a primary receiver in the Chiefs’ West Coast plan, and his speed to the edge against a defense without great sideline range. Smith and WR Jeremy Maclin (19 receptions in the past two games) are sparking a passing game that was limited vertically through three games and the Bears are also fretting the matchup with TE Travis Kelce given recent issues with top-flight tight ends.

*Matchup to watch – Bears C Matt Slauson vs. Chiefs NT Dontari Poe: Slauson can wall off the 346-pound Poe. His natural position is guard and with the added responsibilities of making the line calls and communicating in typically raucous Arrowhead with unfamiliar starters to his left adds a few degrees of difficultly.

*Player spotlight – Bears WR Alshon Jeffery: Back at practice midweek, expectations for Jeffery should be tempered because of his eight-week battle with leg muscle strains. When he’s full strength, Jeffery can be a difference-maker downfield, a dimension the offense is lacking.

*Fast facts: The Chiefs’ first four opponents had a combined record of 13-3 through four weeks. … Kansas City’s top three 2015 draft picks are all starting. … Since 2014, Bears TE Martellus Bennett has 114 receptions, most in the NFL at his position.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

The Chiefs botched several chances in losing at home to Denver two weeks ago. If Kansas City takes care of the ball, the Bears put up enough fight to take the game to the fourth quarter – at which point it’s up to QB Jay Cutler to deliver.

*Our pick: Chiefs 24-20.


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