NFL Week 14 matchups: Are Khalil Mack, Bears ready to push Rams? – USA TODAY


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Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack (52) during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.(Photo: Jeff Hanisch, USA TODAY Sports)

If last week was a wake-up call, Sunday night might be the gut check.

The Chicago Bears are closing in on their first NFC North title since 2010, thanks in large part to the NFL’s third-ranked defense. But the group is on notice after a 30-27 overtime loss to the New York Giants snapped a five-game winning streak.

Facing off against the Los Angeles Rams’ second-ranked offense is its own challenge. The game, however, will be something of a proving ground for Chicago’s defense as it prepares to face the league’s elite units in the postseason. The Bears haven’t squared off against a top-15 offense since Week 7 and are just 1-2 against those teams this season.

Perhaps the most critical battle for Chicago will be generating pressure on Jared Goff, who has taken advantage of superlative protection and thrown for 3,754 yards and 27 touchdowns this season. Khalil Mack, who might be in the conversation for defensive player of the year if not for Aaron Donald’s remarkable campaign, will look to build on his nine sacks and five forced fumbles so far this year by continuing to create havoc. But while the Rams will surely provide additional resources to blocking both Mack and Akiem Hicks, offensive tackles Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein have been among the league’s best bookends. 


Goff, however, is coming off a 17-of-33 passing performance against the Detroit Lions and might

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