Can Bears Win without Khalil Mack?

khalil-mack-injuryKhalil Mack has played a huge role in the Chicago Bears being competitive in the early going. However, he may have to sit this weekend against the New York Jets.

Mack, who’s already recorded five sacks and four forced fumbles, has been dealing with an ankle injury over the past two weeks. He hurt his ankle in Week 6 against the Miami Dolphins and hasn’t had the same impact in the past two games.

With Mack hampered, the team has given up an average of 461 yards to the Dolphins and New England Patriots.

The defense has really struggled with their best player no longer able to push off and explode like he did in the first four games of the season. That said, it’s worth wondering if Chicago can win against New York without their star linebacker.

Bears Need to Decide if It’s Worth Risking Mack’s Health

The Chicago Bears gave up two first-round draft picks along with two more picks in order to acquire Mack. The latter has already proven that he’s worth far more than what Chicago gave up when he’s healthy.

Khalil made game-changing plays in each of the first four games, including an interception that he returned for a touchdown. The problem now, though, is that Mack isn’t healthy anymore.

khalil-mack-bears-mvp-1It’s obvious that he can’t run like he did earlier in the season. While Mack is still a good linebacker even when hurt, he’s not the same game-changer right now.

He’s started 70 straight games. But Chicago really needs to decide if they should keep trotting Mack out when he’s obviously not 100%.

“It’s not easy,” said Bears head coach Matt Nagy. “That’s where the trust level from both ends has to be there.

“The player has to understand where we’re coming from as a team as to (asking) where you’re at percentage-wise. We all know he’s not 100 percent, but where are you at? That’s where we trust him, he trusts us and then we go ahead with the action plan.”

Chicago Needs the MVP Version of Khalil Mack

Earlier this season, I discussed how Khalil Mack looked like a serious candidate to win MVP as a defensive player. Odds are that this is no longer happening due to his slowdown and gimpy angle. But that doesn’t mean he can’t still help Chicago make the playoffs.

They’ve now lost two games with the limited version of Mack on the field. Their 3-3 record doesn’t inspire much trust in a postseason run right now. So why not just sit Mack for one or two weeks and let him return to his dominant self?

As it is right now, Khalil isn’t helping the team win any contests by himself. Chicago really has nothing to lose by sitting him until he’s 100% healthy again. In fact, they’d be better off letting him rest and losing the next two games, then having Mack back at full strength.

Of course, the Bears are actually big favorites against the Jets at home. This makes it seem like an even better idea to let Khalil rest.

Bears vs. Jets Odds

With Mack’s availability up in the air, it’s difficult to handicap the upcoming Chicago vs. New York matchup. But you should currently treat this situation as if Mack isn’t going to play, or at least not be himself.

Regardless of Mack’s situation, Chicago is a big favorite going into tomorrow’s contest (odds here at GTBets):

  • New York Jets +9.5 (-108); +345 moneyline; O 42.5 (-109)
  • Chicago Bears -9.5 (-111); -444 moneyline; U 42.5 (-109)