By: Jimmie Sykes
2018 Pro Bowl Defensive End Akiem Hicks went down against the Oakland Raiders with a dislocated elbow. Now, the Bears must prepare for a crucial portion of their schedule without him. Hicks will be placed on injured reserve, becoming eligible to return during the final three games of the year (if healthy).
When it all falls down
The Bears defense has been stout this season, but they caught a run down by Jon Gruden's Raiders before their bye week. Raiders came out with the win, propelled by 26 carries for 123 yards and 2TD's from rookie RB Josh Jacobs. This unit has been solving the injury riddles early on throughout the season, but losing Hicks for the long ran can be haunting looking ahead.
Bears remaining schedule has potential to get the best of them. Significant games include the Saints, Eagles, all divisional games, Rams, Cowboys, and Chiefs. It's little room for more error from a team that has been struggling to maintain their identity. Even in one of the best divisions in football, there's room for this Chicago team to hold their weight and turn things around.
What's being done to stop the bleeding?
Second year DT Abdullah Anderson is finding his way to the Bears 53-man roster along with OL Alex Bars. Former All-Pro OL Kyle Long has been on the decline this year, and is deactivated from this Bears roster. It's a hard truth to swallow, but adjustments must be made.
DE Roy Robertson-Harris is expected to shoulder the load on the pass rush along with Eddie Goldman, Leonard Floyd, and Khalil Mack. Robertson-Harris is off to a well start filling in, gaining 13 tackles and 2.5 sacks with only two starts this season. DE Bilal Nichols is expected to return against the upcoming New Orleans Saints. QB Mitch Trubisky returned to practice this week, aiming a possible return against the Saints, too.
Currently, Chicago sits at 3-2 which is good enough for 3rd in the NFC North. Every game matters if they want to catch the 5-1 Packers. Best of luck to the Bears in preparing this team for the next portion of their schedule.