3. A related kicker note…

Some folks ask me in the Gameday live chat sessions we have on Sunday, how you know which kicker to use each week? Like I’m some kicker whisperer. I am actually. So here’s another tip and another factor to consider when playing a team that has punishing offenses in our last point. If your kicker is facing one of these hot start teams, and is capable of keeping it up, consider benching him for the week and streaming a better matchup. Here’s why:

If a team is posting a three-possession lead at halftime, the opposing team is forced to score touchdowns the rest of the way. The most kickers can get in that situation is an extra point. Teams will often try to make up that difference by going for two, so a kicker is getting nothing there. Even in a shootout, seven scoring drives only net a kicker seven points at the most. You want your kicker kicking field goals or at least a mixture of both. So you have to look deeper into the type of game script that’s going to unfold for a kicker. And if it’s a blowout, or they’re facing a team that’s going to run up the score early, by at least three possessions, it will not be a good day for the opposing kicker.

Want some illustrations? The Rams have held three kickers under 10 points this year. Dan Bailey was the first to go over the threshold. Outside of the game where the Bengals went up fast and beat the Ravens, Baltimore has kept the opposing kicker under seven points in their three wins by going up big and early. Same with the Chiefs. In general it goes that way, so if you can foresee potential blowouts, you’ll find your kickers to sit.

4. Who knew he had it in him?

If you guessed that I was talking about Mitchell Tribusky capable of throwing six touchdowns, you’d be right. The thought was Bears have kept the offense close and simple for Trubisky. The endless dinking and dunking was getting tiresome. But head coach Matt Nagy finally kicked the training wheels off, letting his young quarterback throw down field and lead an aggressive attack. I think what’s important to note here is that elevated the play of players like Taylor Gabriel, Joshua Bellamy and Tarik Cohen. We know that Allen Robinson can play and that Trey Burton is a weapon but the question headed in was what could they all be with Trubisky? Some of that got answered this past week. It was Tampa Bay’s defense after all, so we can’t get too unhinged about his six touchdowns.

Who suffered in all of this? Jordan Howard, who mysteriously only got 11 carries for 25 yards and one target. If that tells us anything, it’s that the Bears can play in two modes. 1) Attack mode, when they think they’re in for a shootout, which they obviously prepared for the Bucs’ firepower. This means the receivers will go vertical, the quicker Cohen will be featured. 2) Then there’s the run-based, power offense with Howard in control. The defense will be relied to control the field position and give Trubisky a shorter field of play.

We will find out the Bears do in fact switch up the style of play based on their opponent. But now we know they can try to hang with Green Bay, Detroit, New Orleans and Atlanta and not handicap them because of Trubisky.