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Is Chicago Bears’ Defensive Turnaround Enough To Save Matt Eberflus’ Job?

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Monday night was an evening of firsts for Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus, who managed his first win over an NFC North rival and his first victory against an opponent with a winning record by taking down the Minnesota Vikings, 12-10, in Week 12.

The Bears also became the first NFL team to win a game in 2023 without scoring a touchdown. Justin Fields and Co. want to put more points on the board, but the fact that Chicago pulled out tonight’s victory is a testament to its defense, which Eberflus has been running since ex-DC Alan Williams resigned in September.

Will the Bears’ defensive resurgence help Eberflus keep his job? Or will Chicago be searching for a new head coach in 2024?

Is Bears HC Matt Eberflus Still on the Hot Seat?

Eberflus’ defense looked like one of the worst units in the league through the first four games of the season, all of which were Chicago losses. The Bears gave up at least 27 points in each game and ranked 31st in EPA per play, ahead of the Denver Broncos, who’d given up 70 points to the Miami Dolphins in Week 3.

But since Week 5, Chicago has allowed just 18 points per game and improved to 13th in EPA per play. Even with Fields out of the lineup for part of that stretch, the Bears managed a 4-4 record over that eight-game span.

Their most significant improvement has come on the ground. Chicago ranks No. 1 in EPA per rush and rushing success rate over the past two months. Only one Bears opponent has topped 100 rushing yards since Week 5, while Chicago has limited RBs Josh Jacobs, Austin Ekeler, and Alvin Kamara.

Of course, the Bears’ defense has still had issues against quarterbacks like Justin Herbert (298 yards, three touchdowns) and Jared Goff, who tossed three picks but led the Detroit Lions to a devastating comeback against Chicago in Week 11.

But the club might have shown enough flashes — and won enough games — to save Eberflus’ job. If young defenders like safety Jaquan Brisker, cornerbacks Tyrique Stevenson, and defensive tackles Gervon Dexter and Zacch Pickens can continue to develop alongside veterans such as pass rusher Montez Sweat and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, the Bears could have a workable core.

Let’s Make a Shopping List for the 2024 Bears Defense

Still, Chicago’s roster makeover isn’t nearly complete. While Bears general manager Ryan Poles could use most of his available assets to improve the club’s defense, there will be need areas on the defensive side of the ball.

Here are the top three moves Poles could consider to improve Eberflus’ defense in 2024.

Extend CB Jaylon Johnson

Multiple teams reportedly made offers for cornerback Jaylon Johnson at this year’s trade deadline, but the Bears ultimately held on to the pending free agent. The 24-year-old posted his third interception on Monday night as he continued his breakout campaign.

Entering Week 12, Johnson ranked second in snaps per reception (18.2), third in opponent passer rating (49.5), fourth in yards per reception (8.8), and sixth in catch rate allowed (51.4%).

MORE: 2024 NFL Free Agents by Position

He should be in line for a contract worth $20 million or more annually, especially after the Bears already extended Sweat — a trade acquisition, not a draft pick — at $24.5 million per year.

But Chicago projects to have over $80 million in 2024 cap space, eighth-most in the NFL, per Over the Cap. That level of flexibility should give Poles the breathing room to franchise tag Johnson if two sides can’t agree on a deal.

Add Another Edge Rusher

The Bears already addressed their pass-rushing woes by acquiring and extending Sweat, but they shouldn’t stop there. Eberflus wants to get pressure with his front four, so Chicago needs additional edge defenders to help Sweat.

No other Bears defensive end has more than three sacks or six quarterback hits. As a team, Chicago has the fourth-worst pressure rate in the NFL (16.9%).

Free agent pass rushers like Brian Burns and Josh Allen might not actually hit the open market, but the Bears could pursue FAs like Danielle Hunter, Bryce Huff, and D.J. Wonnum next offseason. They’ll also have the draft capital to target the 2024 NFL Draft EDGE class on Day 1 or 2.

Sign a Free Agent Safety

Eddie Jackson is one of the Bears’ longest-tenured players, but the 2017 Draft pick will turn 30 years old in a few weeks and has already missed five games due to injury this season. Chicago can clear $7.5 million by releasing Jackson next year.

If the Bears cut Jackson, they should target a free agent defensive back to play opposite Brisker in the back end. From top to bottom, safety might be the most impressive position group during next year’s free agent period.

Antoine Winfield Jr., Geno Stone, Grant Delpit, Kam Curl, Kyle Dugger, Xavier McKinney, and plenty of others are playing on expiring contracts. The variety of options might cap asking prices, but Chicago should be able to afford the FA safety it wants.

Want to predict the rest of the 2023 season with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? Looking for the most up-to-date NFL standings? What about a breakdown of team depth charts or the NFL schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with that and more!



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Taylor Swift Is Shown Chugging a Beer on the Jumbotron at Super Bowl 58

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Global superstar Taylor Swift made it to the big game to support her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce. In the second quarter, it was evident that she was having a good time at the Super Bowl after taking a 12-hour flight from Tokyo the night prior.

Taylor Swift Seen Chugging Beer at Super Bowl

Swift’s attendance has been highly anticipated, as many fans questioned whether she would be able to make it to the big game since she had been in Japan until Saturday for her Eras Tour.

Sure enough, she made it to the Super Bowl and was seen making a grand entrance alongside Blake Lively and Ice Spice.

Swift made it back to the States with plenty of time to make it to Allegiant Stadium to support Kelce. After a leg of her Eras Tour, where she performed several nights in Japan, the singer appeared to let loose.

In a box full of friends, Swift was shown chugging a beer with Ashley Avignone. She was shown on the jumbotron and slammed her cup down after she finished her beer.

There was a mix of cheers and boos as Swift was shown on the big screen, and a long pass to Mecole Hardman was the only highlight of the first half for Swift and her friends. The 49ers led the Chiefs, 10-0, late in the second quarter.

On social media, Swift garnered plenty of support from NFL fans.

If you’re hating on her you can kick rocks man she’s the best,” one user posted on X

“The one thing I learned this season is that she is actually fun,” another said. 

“Booing Taylor Swift chugging a beer is so soft. She’s just one of us now and I respect it ,” another posted. 

At the time of the beer chugging, Kelce, Taylor Swift’s boyfriend, has had one catch for a single yard. It came on the first possession, which ended up being a three-and-out. The Kansas City Chiefs hadn’t done much otherwise.

They did have a deep pass play to Hardman, which put them in the red zone, but Isiah Pacheco fumbled on the very next play — one that Kelce was surprisingly on the sideline for.

Swift and Kelce have garnered much media attention as their romance has taken off throughout this NFL season.

Swift was able to support her boyfriend at many of his games throughout the final stretch of the season, as her Eras Tour was on a break. But starting on Feb. 7, she went back on the road.

MORE: NFL World Reacts to Unbelievable Super Bowl Trick Play

Despite performing in Tokyo the night before the Super Bowl, she was able to make it in time to support her boyfriend due to the time difference and is having a good time doing so.

As the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, the 2024 NFL Draft is on the horizon. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Fantasy Podcast on our Fantasy YouTube channel.





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What Happened to the 49ers Linebacker?

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The San Francisco 49ers sustained a massive blow during the second quarter of Super Bowl 58, as linebacker Dre Greenlaw left the game on a medical cart.

CBS Sports confirmed that the veteran Greenlaw suffered an Achilles tear, ruling him out for the rest of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

What Happened to Dre Greenlaw?

The outside linebacker, who had already been battling past injuries to his hamstrings and calves, left with what appeared to be a leg injury.

And somehow, his left leg looked like it buckled as he tried to trot onto the field with the Niners’ defense.

Greenlaw clutched his left leg in agony before being helped off the field.

CBS Sports sideline reporter Evan Washburn reported that the outside linebacker left with what was ruled as a lower leg injury. He was later determined to sustain an Achilles injury.

Greenlaw was declared out for the rest of the game.

Greenlaw Carted Off in Passenger Seat

Even more noticeable was where Greenlaw sat on the cart.

He ended up leaving not in the back of the medical vehicle but ended up riding shotgun with his leg injury.

One would think that with an injury like an Achilles ailment, medical officials would try to make the player as comfortable as possible before they leave. It wasn’t the case here.

MORE: San Francisco 49ers Depth Chart

Regardless, Greenlaw was replaced by Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles for the rest of the first half. Greenlaw became the most significant injury of the game.

As the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, the 2024 NFL Draft is on the horizon. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Fantasy Podcast on our Fantasy YouTube channel.





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NFL World Reacts to Epic Super Bowl Intro From CBS

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Super Bowl 58 is here and it’s going to be exciting. The San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs are facing off in the final game of 2023.

CBS is broadcasting the game and the opening was nothing short of amazing. How is the NFL world reacting to the electric Super Bowl-opening video?

Epic CBS Super Bowl Intro Garners Reaction From NFL World

The video, which spanned four minutes and 19 seconds, featured players from both teams talking about the big game and what it means to them. It also featured their families talking about their journeys to this point.

“Amazing intro! Reminds me of my dad! Bravo on the intro!,” one NFL fan said on X (formerly known as Twitter)

Additionally, Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” played in the background, giving it a near-movie feel. “This was incredible.,” another person said on X. “And so, the @49ers and @Chiefs face that final curtain,” CBS Sports said.

The 49ers finished the regular season as the top seed in the NFC with a 12-5 record. After their first-round bye, they defeated both the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions to earn their trip to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl. Both of their victories came in comeback fashion, including an NFC Championship-record 17-point comeback.

The Chiefs, on the other hand, had a more uphill battle. Entering the playoffs as the AFC’s third seed, they finished the regular season with an 11-6 record. In the playoffs, they defeated the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, and Baltimore Ravens to punch their ticket.

Super Bowl 58 is a re-match of Super Bowl 54 when the Chiefs defeated the 49ers 31-24. The win was the first in Patrick Mahomes career, as he also won Super Bowl MVP. Four years later, the Chiefs have made three more and won another. For the 49ers, this is their first trip back to the big game since.

The game kicked off at 6:30 p.m. ET with the 49ers receiving the opening kick. In addition to being broadcast on CBS, the game is also being streamed on Paramount+.

As the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, the 2024 NFL Draft is on the horizon. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Fantasy Podcast on our Fantasy YouTube channel.





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