[Editor's Note: A great piece by a regular poster! Thanks for the post - Rich]
Let's begin this brief piece of analysis with the following environmental conditions:
1. The weather for the Bears game will be cold, windy, and there may be precipitation
2. The turf will be soft, poorly bedded, and will probably come loose.
In many ways, I believe this plays strongly into the hands of the Patriots.
Why? The Bears defense is based on a Tampa/Cover 2 with four players rushing and seven dropping into coverage. This defense is extremely reliant on the four down linemen being able to move quickly and change directions to bring pressure against the opposing quarterback. Soft ground does not help them - it defuses their speed and athleticism. In fact, soft ground favors the bigger, road-grader/space-filled type lines- which the Bears do not have. As a result, the pass rush pressure on Tom Brady will be reduced.
The Patriots defense, on the other side, is usually based on 3 space fillers across the middle. Such as Vince Wilfork + 2 others, like Ron Brace or Gerard Warren. They will be tough to move, especially considering how poor the Bears offensive line will move. The poor field condition will also make it harder for the Bears to run counters or any sort of misdirection running plays. Now, I have a feeling a play that stretches the field could work because the Patriots' OLBs may lose their footing, but that's about it. Thus, the Bears rushing offense will struggle.
The Bears passing offense, despite all the talk about offensive coordinator Mike Martz having calmed down, is still about vertical routes. The Patriots pass defense is designed to stop vertical attacks. We give up a lot of underneath yards but if you go deep on us, you will get picked (18 INTs). Now, here's where the turf matters. You can guarantee at least a half dozen times when a WR will slip on his route. Our ballhawking secondary will be waiting. As a result, the Bears passing offense will struggle.
The only area where the Bears may get lucky from the conditions is in pass defense. Poor conditions may make it very hard for the smurfs and tight ends to get crisp routes going.
Overall, I favor the Patriots to ground and pound as much as possible, look for screens and dump offs to take advantage of the field conditions (in that defenders won't be able to plant and redirect as easily), and be wary about going over the middle as tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski slipping could easily give Bears MLB Brian Urlacher an interception or two.
The Bears would have a better chance at Gillette where their 4-man line could tee off on TB12 with excellent footing, and where they could use running back Matt Forte and their speedy offense in a range of misdirection plays without worrying about slipping over.