The Kansas City Chiefs will look to remain in the win column on Sunday afternoon as they prepare for a bout against the Chicago Bears.
Here are five things to keep in mind heading into game day.
1. Here's a look at the final injury report for both teams.
The Chiefs will be without linebacker Nick Bolton (ankle) on Sunday, which will likely thrust veteran linebacker Drue Tranquill into a larger role. Kansas City will also be without wide receiver Richie James (knee), meaning that the Chiefs will need to rely on other players to handle kick and punt return duties this weekend.
"We've got a lot of options," said Assistant Head Coach / Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub. "[Wide receiver Kadarius] Toney, [wide receiver] Skyy [Moore], [and wide receiver Justin] Watson [are all options]. [Wide receiver Rashee] Rice has done it. All those guys can do it, and we'll see how it works out."
In terms of game-time decisions, Toney (toe), linebacker Willie Gay (quad) and tailback Isiah Pacheco (hamstring) are all officially listed as "Questionable" entering Sunday's game.
As for Chicago, defensive back Eddie Jackson (foot) is listed as "Doubtful" entering Sunday's matchup. Jackson recorded 698 defensive snaps last season and is one of Chicago's starters in the secondary, so his potential absence would be significant.
Another major development that isn't indicated by the injury report is that the Bears placed starting left tackle Braxton Jones on Injured Reserve this week.
2. The Chiefs' defense has been nothing short of dominant through two games.
Kansas City has been among the best defenses in the NFL so far this season, yielding just two offensive touchdowns through eight quarters. In fact, only the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints and Cleveland Browns have allowed fewer offensive scores than the Chiefs.
The defense was particularly effective last week, holding the Jaguars to just 3-of-12 on third down, 0-of-2 on fourth down and 0-for-3 in red zone touchdown efficiency. Keep in mind, Jacksonville was the No. 10 scoring offense in the NFL last season and scored 31 points in Week 1.
Additionally, opponents are just 2-for-6 in terms of red zone touchdown efficiency vs. Kansas City this season. Only Dallas and New Orleans have been better in that category, and it's worth mentioning that one of the Chiefs' red zone stops took place after Jacksonville had a 1st-and-Goal at the 1-yard line last week.
Cornerback Trent McDuffie spoke about the Chiefs' mentality as a defense following Sunday's game.
"We're hungry. [Looking at last year], yeah, we won the Super Bowl, but I know this defense definitely felt like we could've done more and produced more," McDuffie said. "Coming into this year, that is something that we definitely [were thinking about]…Just because last week and the week before we held them to nine and 14 points, this is a defense that's going to continue to do that and be consistent with it."
In terms of the pass-rush, the Chiefs pressured Jaguars' quarterback Trevor Lawrence on 15 of his dropbacks last week (in which Lawrence posted a passer rating of 42.4 when pressured). Defensive lineman Chris Jones led the way in that category, recording six pressures on just 33 snaps. Defensive end George Karlaftis (5), linebacker Leo Chenal (4), defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah (2) and defensive end Mike Danna (2) also produced double-digit pressures in Week 2.
Kansas City will look to keep that defensive success going against a Bears' offense that currently ranks 22nd in the NFL in scoring.
3. The Bears have some playmakers on offense.
There are some dynamic players on Chicago's offense, notably quarterback Justin Fields, who led all signal callers in rushing last season with 1,143 yards on ground. His 33 rushes of double-digit yardage ranked fifth among all players last season, and while many of those rushes occurred on scrambles, a significant portion of them were on designed quarterback runs.
"If you go watch film from last year, when he [gets outside the pocket], it's scary," said Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. "It's a concern, because if you let him do that, he can wreck the game."
In the passing game, Fields' top weapon is veteran wide receiver D.J. Moore, who has eight grabs for 129 yards through two games this season. Veteran tight end Cole Kmet – who has nine catches for 82 yards – leads Chicago in targets with 13.
4. The Bears have an impressive tandem at running back.
Chicago led the NFL in rushing last season with 3,014 yards, and while former tailback David Montgomery is no longer in town, the tandem of third-year running back Khalil Herbert and rookie Roschon Johnson is formidable. Herbert rushed for 731 yards last year (while averaging 5.67 yards-per-attempt) and Johnson, who joined the Bears as a fourth-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, has averaged nearly six yards-per-attempt on limited carries this season. Both players have also been active in the passing game, combining for 12 receptions for 105 yards.
The Bears have just 45 rushing attempts this season – the seventh-fewest in the NFL – but if they choose to rely more on the running game this week, they certainly have the players to find success.
5. Can the Chiefs' offense build off their strong finish to last week's victory?
The Chiefs fell victim to numerous self-inflicted errors last week, from 12 penalties to three giveaways. Specifically, Kansas City was either penalized or turned the ball over on six of its 10 drives against Jacksonville. Fortunately, the Chiefs managed to overcome those miscues to make clutch plays in crucial moments, including quarterback Patrick Mahomes' 54-yard completion to wide receiver Skyy Moore late in the fourth quarter that essentially sealed the victory.
Kansas City will look to carry that momentum into Sunday's game against a Chicago defense that has struggled to generate pressure (with one total sack as a team) and defend the big passing play (as evidenced by their seven passing plays allowed of at least 25 yards – the second-most in the NFL).
Additionally, for what it's worth, the Chiefs have successfully moved the football when they've avoided the self-inflicted errors. Kansas City is averaging 5.7 yards-per-play this season – the fifth-highest mark in the NFL – so, it's reasonable to assume that the Chiefs will find more consistency offensively if they can simply avoid slowing themselves down.
"There are small margins between winning and losing in this league," said Coach Reid. "We know that, so we have to have a great week of preparation. That's the one thing we can control – going out there and working our tail off. You put on the tape, and you see how hard [the Bears] play, so you better be ready."
The Chiefs take on the Bears at 3:25 p.m. CT on Sunday.