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Opponent breakdown: Rams


The Bears (3-5) won a thriller on Monday night. They go right back to the road this week to take on the St. Louis Rams (4-4). Here is a breakdown of Chicago's Week 10 opponent:

What's new: Running back Todd Gurley missed the first two games of the Rams season and only played a little bit in Week 3, as the St. Louis coaching staff wanted to be careful with a player who suffered a devastating knee injury during his college career. Since entering the starting lineup in Week 4, one could argue Gurley has been the best player in the entire NFL at his position. In the Rams' first four games the rookie was in the lineup, Gurley averaged 22 carries and 141 rushing yards a contest. Entering Week 10, Gurley ranks fourth in the NFL in rushing yards and is averaging 5.6 yards per carry – the most in the league of any player with more than 100 attempts.

What's old: It's odd to call a unit whose leader is 25 "old," but in the case of the St. Louis defensive line, the label fits. Robert Quinn leads that group of Rams, which has a knack for terrorizing quarterbacks. In 2013, Quinn was second in the NFL with 19 sacks. A year ago, he 'only' had 10.5. This season, he's been bothered by a knee injury – Quinn didn't play in Week 9 – but his efforts still lead a scary Rams attack. As a team, St. Louis has 27 sacks on the year, tied for second-most in the NFL, with Quinn leading the way (5).

Last time out: Trailing by three, Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein hit a 53-yard field goal with 17 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of the team's Week 9 game in Minnesota. St. Louis then got the ball to start overtime, but after a three-and-out drive, the Vikings took over possession and never looked back, driving down the field before kicking a field goal of their own to win 21-18. The Rams were held to just 168 passing yards in the game, though the team ran for 160 yards.

Series history: Along with the Cardinals, the Rams have been the Bears' most-common opponent outside of Chicago's three NFC North rivals. The Cardinals faced the Bears for the 92nd time in history back in September, and Sunday's game with the Rams will be their 92nd all-time meeting. Chicago holds a 52-36-3 lead in the series history that dates back to 1937, including wins in four of the last five games between the franchises.

Injury report: Quinn isn't the only key Rams defensive player ailing. Fellow defensive end Chris Long – the older brother of Bears right tackle Kyle Long – has been out since Week 5 because of a sore knee. Both of their statuses for the Week 10 contest are unknown.

Schemes and tendencies: On Monday, the Rams looked to fix to their struggling passing attack by signing veteran wide receiver Wes Welker. St. Louis ranks last in the league in passing yards per game, averaging just 177 yards per contest through the air. One of the team's biggest problems is their inability to go over the middle. The Rams complete only 57 percent of their short throws over the middle, which also ranks 32nd in the NFL, averaging just six yards per catch on those plays. Welker has made a living going over the middle during his 11-year career. Three times he led the NFL in receptions, and his 890 career catches are seventh-most among active players. Look for Welker to be active between the numbers in the St. Louis offense.

Did you know: Rams head coach Jeff Fisher is one of three active NFL coaches who also played for the Bears (along with Carolina's Ron Rivera and New Orleans's Sean Payton). Fisher was a defensive back for Chicago for four seasons, from 1981-1984. Most of his work came as a punt returner; in '84, he led the NFL with 57 punt returns. Fisher did not play during Chicago's 1985 season that ended in a victory in Super Bowl XX. He suffered an ankle injury in training camp and was forced to miss the entire year (the injury eventually forced him to retire). Fisher did not waste the season, however. He served as an assistant to defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan, which sparked Fisher's coaching career.

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