The Chicago Bears defense is No. 1 in the NFL against the run, but Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson is a threat to break off a long touchdown dash on any play.
The Chicago Bears (6-1) may have the best defensive unit in the NFL, and they would probably say they could stop anyone if they just play their game, but that doesn't mean the team is underestimating explosive Tennessee Titans (3-5) running back Chris Johnson heading into Week 9.
The Bears boast the No. 1 rushing defense in the league. They allow opponents to produce an average of only 77.9 yards per game on the ground. The Titans own the No. 25 rushing offense in the NFL. They only manage 91.3 yards per game rushing. It's feels a bit silly to frame the contest as a fair fight -- the Bears should defend the Titans' rushing attack very well -- but Chris Johnson has finally awoken from his long slumber, and that changes the calculus a bit.
Over the last five weeks, Johnson leads the NFL with 550 rushing yards, meaning the running game battle is actually less lopsided that it initially appears. The speedster has produced 595 yards and two touchdowns on 131 attempts in 2012 (4.5 yard average), but his recent surge is what makes the matchup so intriguing. The Bears play a one-gap defense where everyone is responsible for filling a running lane, so if one man makes a mistake it could turn into a highlight play for Johnson and the Titans.
Tennessee hosts Chicago on Sunday at 12 p.m. CT on FOX.