The Chicago Bears will host the Baltimore Ravens in a matchup of two teams that are tied for second place in their respective divisions.
While Chicago is coming off a 21-19 loss to the Detroit Lions, Baltimore comes into this contest on the heels of a 20-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
With two clubs battling to keep their playoff hopes alive, anything can happen.
That being said, here are my three bold predictions for Chicago in this Week 11 showdown against the defending Super Bowl champions.
1) Josh McCown's stock will continue to rise
Although Jay Cutler has been saddled with multiple injuries as of late, McCown has played very well in the backup role.
McCown threw for 204 yards and a touchdown, while completing 70 percent of his passes against the Washington Redskins in Week 7.
He followed that up with a solid performance against the Green Bay Packers—throwing for 272 yards, a pair of touchdowns and no interceptions. As a result, Chicago recorded its first win at Lambeau Field since the 2007 season, per Melissa Isaacson of ESPN Chicago.
McCown also played well in the fourth quarter against the Lions in Week 10. On the Bears' last possession, he capped off a 10-play, 74-yard drive with a beautiful 11-yard strike to Brandon Marshall that trimmed the deficit to 21-19. McCown completed six of nine passes for 62 yards with a passer rating of 103.2.
Based on these trends, not only is it safe to say that McCown will play well this week, it is also forseeable that the backup QB will eclipse the 300-yard mark without throwing any picks.
2) Matt Forte will be a key contributor this week
Forte is ranked seventh in the league with 691 rushing yards, and he had his best outing against the Packers in Week 9. In that contest, he had 179 total yards, including 125 rushing yards on 24 attempts.
But against the Lions, Forte was limited to just 33 yards on 17 carries. Chicago is a much better team when Forte plays a large role within the offense. To put this assertion into perspective, the Bears are 14-1 when Forte rushes for 100 yards.
In other words, if Chicago is going to emerge victorious this week, Forte will need to be a huge factor in the offensive scheme.
3) Bears' defense will rise to the occasion
Yes, I know the defense has not had much success with getting to the opposing quarterbacks this season. This is evident by the fact that they have recorded just 14 sacks in nine games.
In addition to that, Chicago ranks 31st in rushing yards allowed (129.4) and 23rd in passing yards allowed (249.8) per contest. On the surface these trends seem to favor the Ravens.
However, while Joe Flacco has thrown for seven touchdowns and three interceptions in the four games the Ravens have won this season, he has a passer rating of just 77.3 (12 touchdowns, 11 interceptions), which ranks 25th in the NFL, per Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Ravens' ground game has not been effective this season either. According to ESPN Stats, the Ravens are ranked 30th in the league in rushing yards per game (73.1), and Ray Rice, who has rushed for over 1,100 yards the past four years, has only 289 yards on 115 attempts. That is an average of just 2.5 yards per carry.
Taking these factors into consideration, Chicago's defense will hold Baltimore's offense in check en route to its sixth win on the season.
James Tillman III is a resident of the Chicago-land area, who follows all the teams in the local region. James is currently a sports contributor for various sites including Football Nation, Sports Kings/Pass the Pill and Sports Rantz Magazine. James is also a former Featured Sports Contributor for Yahoo! Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @jtillman9693