When and where: August 24, 2019, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN, 7:00 PM ET
One team will come away with their first win of the preseason when the Indianapolis Colts roll out the welcome mat for the visiting Chicago Bears. The defensive struggles in back-to-back preseason losses for the Bears are creating questions in the team’s first year without defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Meanwhile, the Colts are suffering from another Andrew Luck injury problem. Will Jacoby Brissett cement his role as the opening day starter on Saturday?
Should we be concerned with the Bears’ defense?
The Bears are in a transitional period this season after losing defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to the Denver Broncos. Granted, they’ve done a tremendous job of replacing him with former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, a highly-respected defensive mind in the league. The unit has struggled throughout the first couple of preseason games, particularly in their Week 2 meeting with the New York Giants. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones looked like a veteran carving them up with his arm—11-for-14 passing for 161 yards and one touchdown.
After giving up 23 points in a loss to the Carolina Panthers, the Bears then went on to give up 32 points to the Giants. However, you shouldn’t get sucked into any overreaction to the defensive struggles when former Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack has been sitting on the sidelines. If anything, the lingering concerns with the Bears should be focused on the offense.
Is third-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky the answer to take the Bears to the Promised Land?
That will be the lingering question when the Bears suit up for regular season action in a couple of weeks. He threw for 3,223 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2018, which was a significant improvement over the numbers he posted in his rookie season. Yet, the Bears still need more if they have any hope of being a serious Super Bowl contender.
Update: (8/22): The Bears are expected to hold out all of their starters and some key reserves for Game 3, which is basically what they did last week against the Giants.
“It’s going to be basically very similar to what you saw last week,” said coach Matt Nagy. “So as far as going out there with our guys, I don’t think that’s a secret to anybody.”
Who will start at quarterback for the Colts?
Imagine the difficulty of putting a winning team together without a franchise quarterback. That’s the possible conundrum facing Colts second-year head coach Frank Reich heading into Week 3 of the preseason. Four-time Pro Bowl quarterback Andrew Luck has resurfaced on the injury report with a calf and ankle injury. It has become customary for the Colts organization to be mum on the severity of Luck’s injuries. We’ve seen in past seasons when they’ve all but assured fans there was nothing to worry about.
So there is currently no update on Luck’s progress, which is inconvenient considering Reich is hoping to name a starting quarterback for the season-opener after Saturday’s game against the Bears. Jacoby Brissett is the obvious name that jumps out as a viable replacement. He started 15 games for the Colts in place of Luck in 2017, and he also looked sharp in Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns, going 8-of-10 passing for 100 yards and one touchdown.
It’s hard to make the case the Colts are even a playoff contender without Luck on the field. The team is still hopeful he’ll make a full recovery and find a way back in time for the opener, but I wouldn’t count on it given the uncertainty surrounding his health status this late in the preseason.
Colts QB Jacoby Brissett won’t play tomorrow night vs. the Bears, per source.
Team sitting the majority of starters, and at this point, Brissett is QB1 until Andrew Luck returns to practice. That could come as early as Monday.
— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) August 23, 2019
Update (8/22): Reich, like Nagy, is not expected to play many starters in this one.
“Just decided you’re probably not going to see most of the 1s this game,’’ Reich said Wednesday. “This will be a great opportunity for those guys who do get to play to get even more reps.’’
Not only is Luck sitting out, but now the Colts are expected to sit Jacoby Brissett. That makes sense considering the fact that Brissett could be the starter in the regular-season opener if Luck is not ready to go. Add to the fact that Cam Newton was injured in Thursday night’s action, teams will be very cautious about playing their starting or even backup quarterbacks the rest of preseason.
- Bears are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games overall.
- Bears are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games.