The Chicago Bears and other teams have watched the 2021 season unfold. One thing that is becoming clear? It’s becoming a rather nasty year for injuries. Especially to high-profile players. Already several big names have landed on Injured Reserve. Some of them for the rest of the season. The Bears have endured their share of health issues along the way.
Yet one other trend that is developing is how many of their opponents continue to suffer issues. Las Vegas endured a series of hits to their secondary prior to the Bears’ visit last Sunday. Now it seems each of their next four opponents may end up missing key names when they lock up with Chicago.
Some of them could be a huge factor in determining the outcomes of these games. So here’s the latest.
Chicago Bears likely won’t have to see these guys
Kevin King (shoulder)
The timing of this couldn’t be worse for the Green Bay Packers. They already lost star cornerback Jaire Alexander to a shoulder injury. One that landed him on Injured Reserve and out for the foreseeable future. King had to step up into his place and was playing pretty well. Then he was forced to exit the game against Cincinnati with a shoulder issue of his own. It isn’t clear whether he might try to play through it or not, but if he can’t the team will be relying on Isaac Yiadom to plug the hole. He hasn’t exactly been reliable in coverage this season (or most of his career)
Lavonte David (ankle)
The longtime star linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers suffered a tough ankle sprain last week. One that will knock him out this week for sure and might keep him out a bit longer. That is a tough blow for the Bucs defense. Their biggest strength is their run defense and David is a critical part of it. With him out of the picture, their job gets a bit harder. Not ideal given how questionable their pass coverage is with a banged-up secondary as well.
George Kittle (calf)
Losing your best player on offense is never easy. Especially when it’s somebody as gifted as Kittle. He is the engine of the San Francisco 49ers passing game. Without him, they don’t have a lot of overly reliable weapons. They found that out the hard way last Sunday. Without Kittle, the 49ers managed just 10 points against the division rival Arizona Cardinals. Kyle Shanahan is a great offensive mind but even he can’t work miracles without good players. Not having Kittle against that Chicago Bears defense on Halloween will be a challenge.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (shoulder)
Losing a key wide receiver when your offense ranks 27th in the NFL probably isn’t ideal. Yet that is what happened to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Their win over Denver proved costly as they lost Smith-Schuster for the season with a should ailment. Ben Roethlisberger was already struggling. Taking away one of his more reliable options probably isn’t going to help. It will allow opponents to focus their attention even more on Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson.