Can Ravens take advantage of weak Bears' run defense?
Tackling well will be a major priority for the Ravens against the Bears.
Running back Matt Forte often evades the first would-be tackler. The Bears also have a pair of wide receivers who are difficult to bring down, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.
At this point in the season, players have aches and pains, and can get lazy about wrapping up ball carries. If that happens to the Ravens on Sunday, it could lead to trouble.
“Tackling is going to be critically important,” said John Harbaugh. “It might be the most important thing on defense to give us a chance to win this game. Once Matt Forte gets out there and gets going, he can turn a six, seven, eight-yard gain into a 50-yard gain in a heartbeat. As a matter of fact, they are the No. 1, big-play running offense in football right now, and that’s largely due to his ability once he gets in space. And they do everything they can to get him in space.”
Forte has power to accompany his speed, and is also dangerous as a receiver.
“He is a big, tall guy who can slash, put his foot in the ground, get vertical in a hurry, run through guys,” said Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees. “Every time he gets tackled, if you watch him, he is falling forward. He has that kind of body type and is an excellent, excellent receiver out of the backfield. He is a big-time threat.”
Forte will become a bigger threat if the Ravens have a poor day tackling.