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Ravens can’t afford to overlook the Bears defense

The Chicago Bears have been overlooked due to their 1-4 record, but they are stout on the defensive side of the ball.

Minnesota Vikings v Chicago Bears Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images

While the Bears only have a single win and are suffering from a litany of injuries, one thing has stood: their defense.

Before getting into the particulars of their defense, there is one important stat to note: the average age of their players is 25.7 years. These are young players getting it done on the defensive side of the football by making intelligent plays.

Chicago’s defense has been impressive this season, ranking 10th in yards allowed (1525), sixth in yards per game allowed (305.0), and eighth in passing yards per game allowed (204.8). Although their points allowed per game stat is 25th in the league (24.8), this Chicago defense is nothing to trifle with.

Their offense hasn’t given them much space to work with on the field. Chicago is currently ranked 17th in time of possession, averaging 29:49 of ball control per game. It isn’t horrible, but with the worst turnover differential in the league (-9), the Bears defense has to work overtime.

Just on Monday night, the 2017 Bears defense was on display, and in full effect. Starting Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford was sack four times, went 5-for-11, passing for just 36 yards. Bradford would be pulled in favor of Case Keenum, who would lead the Vikings to victory, but it gave Baltimore insight into how strong Chicago’s defense is.

Kyle Fuller, a Baltimore native and Bears cornerback, has played very well this season. He leads the team in tackles (21) and pass deflections (4). His ability to tackle as a corner gives the Bears a boost in their run defense and allows them to send him as a blitzer with his speed.

Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd and defensive end Akiem Hicks have been a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. Floyd has three sacks and Hicks has four. The duo, along with outside linebacker Pernell McPhee (former Raven), who has two sacks, and nose tackle Eddie Goldman, who has one sack, are all a force in the front seven.

This game won’t be easy for a struggling Ravens offense. However, Baltimore can exploit Chicago’s inability to create turnovers on defense, as the Bears have zero interceptions on the year.

Joe Flacco, Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin and Breshad Perriman can go off in this game. It all depends on how the offensive line holds up against this front seven. Baltimore has been able to run the ball well, currently ranking 5th in the NFL for total rushing yards (652) and 6th in rushing yards per game (130.4).