Football is back! Thursday, August 2, 2018, marks the official start to the 2018 NFL Preseason, as the Chicago Bears take on the Baltimore Ravens in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game. The first matchup of the NFL Preseason will be broadcast on NBC, and streamed online on NBC Sports Live, beginning at 8 p.m. EDT.
In addition to fans of the Bears and Ravens, millions of additional football fans will tune in to the game, after waiting patiently for the NFL to resume play after its annual six-month hiatus.
Here are three reasons to watch the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game between the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens:
Mitch Trubisky and the Bears’ new offense under Matt Nagy
Under head coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, the Chicago Bears’ offense was two things: boring and predictable.
The 2017 Bears wanted to run the ball in an effort to utilize their respectable running attack led by running backs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, and to keep the ball out of the hands of rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
Despite playing from behind for most of the season, the 5-11 Bears utilized heavy sets and continued to run the ball. If the Bears built a lead, opposing teams knew Chicago would keep the ball on the ground, as their 69 percent run rate when ahead easily lead the NFL. The Bears mainly used three wide receivers in obvious passing situations; only 21 percent of the team’s rushing plays came from 11 personnel, which ranked last in the league.
Chicago’s persistent and predictable running game resulted in the team’s passing attack ranking last in the NFL, after totaling just 2,811 passing yards over the course of the season. Trubisky failed to amass 200 passing yards in any of his first four starts. The Bears’ QB completed less than 10 passes in each of his first two victories, and in his second win, Trubisky attempted only seven passes.
After the season, Chicago showed Fox and Loggains the door and added new head coach Matt Nagy — best known for turning check-down king Alex Smith into a potential MVP candidate in 2017, when the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback led the league in quarterback rating and adjusted yards per pass attempt.
Over the offseason, the playmaker-needy Bears also added weapons for Trubisky in wide receivers Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel, as well as tight end Trey Burton. The days of single-digit passing attempts are a thing of the past. Trubisky will have his opportunity to shine in 2018, beginning on Thursday night during the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, OH.
Next Page: Reason No. 2