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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Tee Shirts, Barnwell, Argo & Nashville

| October 16th, 2012

TEE SHIRT SALES ARE PICKING UP…

…but we have to keep the deadline sturdy at October 31st. Halloween night. Go ahead and get yours ordered today to ensure you have one for the Bears fan you love come Christmas or Chanukah or whatever the hell religious thing you happen to enjoy. To order the shirt, CLICK HERE. They have made their way around the country and they’re pretty terrific.

Rev    Izzy

BILL BARNWELL: BEARS ARE BEST TEAM IN NFL

I have tried my hardest to hate everything associated with Grantland – outside the brilliant Monday podcast from Simmons and Cousin Sal. But Bill Barnwell has written some of the smartest pieces on the Bears I’ve seen from a member of the “national” media. I don’t much care where any club is ranked in October but the analysis is sound.

Here’s the entirety of his piece calling the Bears the best in the game:

Yes, that’s right, the Bears. The same Bears who capitulated in Green Bay in Week 2 and briefly became a national punch line because Jay Cutler threw four interceptions. That’s a rough loss, but it also came in a game where Matt Forte left with an injury during the opening drive of the second half. That forced the Bears to change their offense on the fly and integrate Michael Bush into the starting lineup without many practice reps. As you might expect, the Bears are significantly better with Forte around; he’s averaged a full 4.7 yards per carry this year, well ahead of backups Bush (3.6 yards per pop) and Kahlil Bell (2.7). When Forte is around, there’s nothing the Bears don’t do well. They’re proficient running the ball, adequate throwing it, and well above-average in all facets of defense and special teams. The emergence of Henry Melton and Shea McClellin as secondary pass rushers has freed up space for Julius Peppers, while Tim Jennings has had a career year in five games at cornerback: He’s set or tied career highs in interceptions (four) and passes defended (10) with 11 games left to go.

And while everybody else has a close call or two on their résumé, the Bears have been dominant in their four wins this season. In their three wins against average-or-better competition — the Colts, Cowboys, and Rams — Chicago won by a minimum of 16 points. Their one game against a cream puff, the Jaguars, resulted in a 41-3 shellacking. Every other team on this list, besides perhaps the Texans, had at least one game in which a change on one play would turn their win into a loss. That hasn’t been true for the Bears. They’ve had some luck in producing five defensive touchdowns in five games this year, but the defense would still be good and the margins of victory would still be impressive without the bonus touchdowns from the defense.

If you want to hop on the Bears bandwagon (a place where I admittedly have to hide, myself), now’s the time. Over the next three weeks, Chicago is home for games against the Lions and Panthers before traveling to Tennessee. At that point, the Bears might very well be 7-1, but their schedule will become something resembling punishment: Their next six games include matchups against the Seahawks (thankfully, in Chicago), Texans, Packers, 49ers, and a home-and-home with the Vikings. They might not have the best record in football by the time they’re through with that month and a half of hell, but if they can go 3-3 or 4-2 across that stretch, I wouldn’t budge them from this spot.

Of course, it also probably says something about how flawed even the league’s best teams are that the team I chose for the top spot on this list is the one that was out of sight and on a bye this week. The Bears could very well lose to the Lions next Monday night and create an AFC East–esque logjam in the NFC North, and we’ll all have to revisit this whole conceit again. Until that upset happens, the best team in football resides in the Windy City.

I think his last point may be his wisest one. The Bears must beat the Lions Monday night at home and cement their position in the NFC North. A loss will create a wild final ten weeks of the season.

ARGO IS GREAT. JUST PLAIN GREAT.

And it features my buddy and diehard Chicago Bears fan Christopher Denham. (When not moonlighting in Hollywood pictures, Mr. Denham can be found at Josie Woods Pub on Sundays. Go see it.

DABEARSBLOG IS HEADED TO THE MUSIC CITY

DJ Noah Brier (co-founder of this here feast) and I will be heading to Nashville for the Bears vs. Titans contest on Sunday, November 4th. If you’re planning to be down there drop me an email to jeff@dabearsblog.com and maybe we can coordinate a Honky Tonk locale for Bears fans to gather pre or post-game.

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