Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (left) has three straight 100-yard games since returing from injury, while Rams running back Todd Gurley ranks fourth in the league in rushing.

Kamil Krzaczynski and Brace Hemmelgarn USA TODAY Sports

If the St. Louis Rams hope to stay in the NFC postseason chase, Sunday's matchup against the visiting Chicago Bears falls under the must-win category. The Rams came up short against another NFC North opponent last week, falling in overtime at Minnesota to drop to 4-4.

The Bears have been trying to dig themselves out of an 0-3 start, but they aren't making it easy on themselves by playing a succession of nail-biters. Chicago's last five games have been decided by a total of 11 points, including Monday night's 22-19 victory at San Diego.

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Rookie running back Todd Gurley had his streak of 100-yard games snapped at four by the Vikings, but he is the main weapon in an otherwise pedestrian St. Louis offense. Bears running back Matt Forte is expected to sit out again with a knee injury, giving rookie Jeremy Langford his second straight start.

Here are three keys to the game for both the Bears and the Rams.

Can you beat the Crowd's Line? Submit your final score prediction below. Good luck!

BEARS

1. Give Jeremy Langford plenty of touches

The Bears have the potential for some serious offensive firepower, but it could be diminished by yet another injury to top wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. Even though workhorse running back Matt Forte is still working his way back from a knee injury, the team can rest easy knowing that Jeremy Langford is ready to carry the load. The rookie running back broke out against the San Diego Chargers on Monday night with 142 yards from scrimmage, a touchdown and a two-point conversion. Jeffery, who is averaging 138 yards per game since Week 6, hurt his groin Wednesday and sat out Thursday's practice.

2. Prove that Vic Fangio's defense can stop the run

Chicago has a top-10 defense in terms of yards allowed per game (341.9), and the Bears looked pretty dominant against San Diego's potent passing attack in Week 9. Even Lamarr Houston, who mostly rides the bench nowadays, got into the action with two sacks on Monday night. Well, the Rams will present a new set of challenges for Vic Fangio's 3-4 defense. The Bears will have to contain a powerful ball-carrier in rookie running back Todd Gurley, who has averaged 132 rushing yards since taking over as a full-time starter. That's a far more daunting task than teeing off on Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.

3. Just give Jay Cutler a shot to win it in the 4th quarter

The Bears don't need to blow the hinges off the Rams; they just need to keep it close enough for Jay Cutler to cook up some late-game magic. In all three of Chicago's wins, Cutler has engineered a game-winning drive. His finest work came last week, when he put together a 10-play, 80-yard drive to beat the Chargers, capping it off with a 25-yard touchdown strike to tight end Zach Miller with less than four minutes to play. Cutler may have some ugly moments against the Rams, but the veteran passer will redeem himself with plenty of poise in the fourth quarter.

RAMS

1. Don't wait for Todd Gurley to deliver the home run

Gurley is averaging better than 22 carries per game in his five starts and don't expect St. Louis to deviate from that formula. But, as coach Jeff Fisher keeps stressing, the Rams need to do a better job of blocking for the league's fourth-leading rusher on the early downs. St. Louis ranks last in the league in third-down conversions and are a woeful 4-for-37 in those situations over the past three games, including 2-for-16 last week.

2. Tilt the defense toward Martellus Bennett

If Jeffrey is able to play, he'll likely be matched up against cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who has been campaigning to be paid like the elite players at his position as he enters a contract year. Either way, the Rams must be aware of tight end Martellus Bennett, who is exactly on pace to match last season's totals of 90 receptions and six touchdown catches. Bennett, with 45 receptions through eight games, could find room against a secondary that has allowed four opposing tight ends to haul in six passes.

3. Get back that edge

St. Louis has enough depth along its defensive front to withstand the loss of Chris Long, but when fellow edge rusher Robert Quinn was forced to sit out last week with a knee issue, the Rams managed only one sack after collecting 26 through their first seven games. While Quinn is expected back, St. Louis needs to get better production from the rotation of William Hayes, Ethan Westbrooks and Eugene Sims.

If the St. Louis Rams hope to stay in the NFC postseason chase, Sunday's matchup against the visiting Chicago Bears falls under the must-win category. The Rams came up short against another NFC North opponent last week, falling in overtime at Minnesota to drop to 4-4.

The Bears have been trying to dig themselves out of an 0-3 start, but they aren't making it easy on themselves by playing a succession of nail-biters. Chicago's last five games have been decided by a total of 11 points, including Monday night's 22-19 victory at San Diego.

Rookie running back Todd Gurley had his streak of 100-yard games snapped at four by the Vikings, but he is the main weapon in an otherwise pedestrian St. Louis offense. Bears running back Matt Forte is expected to sit out again with a knee injury, giving rookie Jeremy Langford his second straight start.

Here are three keys to the game for both the Bears and the Rams.

Can you beat the Crowd's Line? Submit your final score prediction below. Good luck!

BEARS

1. Give Jeremy Langford plenty of touches

The Bears have the potential for some serious offensive firepower, but it could be diminished by yet another injury to top wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. Even though workhorse running back Matt Forte is still working his way back from a knee injury, the team can rest easy knowing that Jeremy Langford is ready to carry the load. The rookie running back broke out against the San Diego Chargers on Monday night with 142 yards from scrimmage, a touchdown and a two-point conversion. Jeffery, who is averaging 138 yards per game since Week 6, hurt his groin Wednesday and sat out Thursday's practice.

2. Prove that Vic Fangio's defense can stop the run

Chicago has a top-10 defense in terms of yards allowed per game (341.9), and the Bears looked pretty dominant against San Diego's potent passing attack in Week 9. Even Lamarr Houston, who mostly rides the bench nowadays, got into the action with two sacks on Monday night. Well, the Rams will present a new set of challenges for Vic Fangio's 3-4 defense. The Bears will have to contain a powerful ball-carrier in rookie running back Todd Gurley, who has averaged 132 rushing yards since taking over as a full-time starter. That's a far more daunting task than teeing off on Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.

3. Just give Jay Cutler a shot to win it in the 4th quarter

The Bears don't need to blow the hinges off the Rams; they just need to keep it close enough for Jay Cutler to cook up some late-game magic. In all three of Chicago's wins, Cutler has engineered a game-winning drive. His finest work came last week, when he put together a 10-play, 80-yard drive to beat the Chargers, capping it off with a 25-yard touchdown strike to tight end Zach Miller with less than four minutes to play. Cutler may have some ugly moments against the Rams, but the veteran passer will redeem himself with plenty of poise in the fourth quarter.

RAMS

1. Don't wait for Todd Gurley to deliver the home run

Gurley is averaging better than 22 carries per game in his five starts and don't expect St. Louis to deviate from that formula. But, as coach Jeff Fisher keeps stressing, the Rams need to do a better job of blocking for the league's fourth-leading rusher on the early downs. St. Louis ranks last in the league in third-down conversions and are a woeful 4-for-37 in those situations over the past three games, including 2-for-16 last week.

2. Tilt the defense toward Martellus Bennett

If Jeffrey is able to play, he'll likely be matched up against cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who has been campaigning to be paid like the elite players at his position as he enters a contract year. Either way, the Rams must be aware of tight end Martellus Bennett, who is exactly on pace to match last season's totals of 90 receptions and six touchdown catches. Bennett, with 45 receptions through eight games, could find room against a secondary that has allowed four opposing tight ends to haul in six passes.

3. Get back that edge

St. Louis has enough depth along its defensive front to withstand the loss of Chris Long, but when fellow edge rusher Robert Quinn was forced to sit out last week with a knee issue, the Rams managed only one sack after collecting 26 through their first seven games. While Quinn is expected back, St. Louis needs to get better production from the rotation of William Hayes, Ethan Westbrooks and Eugene Sims.