Chicago Bears vs Arizona Cardinals – Week 16 Game Preview: Overview, Keys to Game, Insights

The Chicago Bears (5-9) blew another double-digit fourth quarter lead in Cleveland last week to pretty much end their long-shot playoff hopes. The culprit this time, was a disappointing offensive performance that wasted an outstanding performance on defense. Now the Bears come back home and try to recover against the lowly Cardinals on Christmas Eve.

It’s been a very rough year for Arizona (3-11) with a first-time head coach and quarterback Kyler Murray missing the first half of the season recovering from a torn ACL suffered late in 2022. Joshua Dobbs filled in at QB for Murray and was only able to win a single game in the team’s first eight contests, pretty much ending the season right there.

Things have not gotten much better with Murray back under center with him posting a 2-3 record in his five starts. The Cardinals are scoring just 18.5 points a game in 2023, the 8th lowest in the NFL. Probably the biggest offensive threat for new coach Jonathan Gannon is tight end Trey McBride who has a team-leading 712 receiving yards.

Passing defense has been pretty good this season in the desert but it’s a much different story when it comes to the run game. Arizona allows 139.6 yards per game on the ground, ahead of only the Denver Broncos this year. That issue has directly led to the Cards giving up 26.9 points per game, second most in the NFL.

The Bears should be able to win this game if they execute and avoid major mistakes. These games may not be important for the standings but players like Justin Fields need to have quality performances to show they deserve playing time in 2024. A lackluster effort in these final three contests may send some personnel and possibly the coaching staff, packing in the off-season.

Where to Watch/Listen

  • Sunday, December 24 at 3:25pm CT on FOX, WBBM Radio (English), and WRTO Radio (Spanish).

Keys to Victory

Here are my keys to Sunday’s game. If these things happen, the Bears should have a shot to win.

  1. Establish the run early. Chicago has struggled to consistently run the ball outside of Fields scrambling. That has to change against the horrible Cardinals rushing defense.
  2. Take down Kyler Murray when you have the chance. Arizona’s best chance to score will be on plays created by their dynamic quarterback. That said, they don’t have a very good offensive line and the Bears will have chances to get sacks and they have to make sure they convert them.
  3. Be aggressive if you get a big lead. Matt Eberflus and company have had a real problem letting up on offense once they go up by a couple of scores. They have to avoid that if they are in a similar spot this week.

Don’t Tell Me the Odds

The Bears are favored by four points at Soldier Field this Sunday and Vegas expects a pretty low score with the over/under set at 43.5.

It’s Football Weather

It’s going to be 53 degrees with some clouds on Christmas Eve in Chicago for the game.

My Prediction

The Cardinals are more interested in tanking for a better draft pick than they are in winning this game. I expect the Bears to prevail fairly easily and Fields to get a lot of yards on the ground. Chicago will take home a 27-13 victory to give fans a happy holiday.

Official Bears Preview

Jeff Joniak and Tom Thayer are joined by former Bears safety, Doug Plank, to preview the Bears matchup against the Cardinals on the Bears, etc. podcast.

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