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Week 17: NYE Bears at Vikings Game Preview

| December 28th, 2017

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears. And I like them even more after seeing their young nucleus live. This week I’m peppering the preview with a couple of my favorite finales in musical theatre history. Why? Because I run things around here and realistically can do whatever the hell I want.


Poem

Enter twenty-eighteen.

Never has the calendar been more desperate for change.

Daylight approaches, I promise.


Fiddler

As great as Fiddler on the Roof is, and I think it’s the greatest musical ever written, it is never quite given enough credit for how bold it is in its storytelling. Fiddler is not a tragedy but it ends tragically, with the Jewish citizens of a Russian village forced to leave their home, Anatevka. The song is a funeral dirge, a self-deprecating requiem for a way of life these people know they’ll never find again. But there is optimism in this dour ballad, even if it’s difficult to find. Because these people are going to a new world, a new frontier, creating a new America.


Some Thoughts on the Actual Game

  • There is a scenario wherein the Vikings are not the second seed in the NFC playoffs. Far-fetched but it exists. And that should be enough to motivate them all week. And if they’re motivated, the game is over. At halftime Sunday the Bears led the Browns 6-3 in one of the more lifeless halves of football ever played. If the Bears play a similar half in Minneapolis they’ll be down two or three touchdowns because the Vikings are simply not the Browns. They’re quite good.

  • After Sunday, the Bears will only have a week to interview Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and they should absolutely interview him. No, he’s not my first choice but Shurmur is an interesting offensive mind and Ryan Pace should gather as much info from those types as he possible can during this hiring process. If Pace attends this game, does he just stay there? Does he have to fire Fox in Chicago Monday AM or can he take care of that in Minnesota?
  • Minnesota is the best defense in the league. That may have been debatable before Jimmy G torched Jacksonville but it is not any longer. The Bears won’t have success throwing it, not with their receivers. They won’t have success running it, not after Jordan Howard’s whopping two-yards-per-carry performance against Cleveland at Soldier Field. This is a game the Bears need to let Mitch Trubisky have. Let him try and make plays. If he fails, he fails. But if he doesn’t, think of the excitement that will build heading into the off-season.
  • Three Bears players with significant stakes this week: (a) Kyle Fuller. How the Bears handle his contract will be one of the first big off-season decisions for Pace. How Fuller plays against these terrific Vikings receivers could impact that. (b) Kendall Wright signed a one-year deal last off-season but as Tru has become more comfortable behind center, Wright has become his most reliable target with 21 catches over the last 3 weeks. Capping off a solid December should be enough to earn him a return trip in 2018. (c) If we assume the Bears will have new defensive coaches next season, Jonathan Bullard could sure use a bit of solid game tape. Bullard flashed against Cleveland Sunday but it’ll be interesting to see how he plays against the Vikings, especially if Akiem Hicks is given a much-deserved breather.

Sunday

Sunday in the Park with George is really two one-act musicals but it’s first act is the masterwork. In it, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine explore Georges Seurat’s creation of his masterpiece, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. (If you’ve never seen that painting at the Art Institute of Chicago, stop reading this crap and go.) This act is as deep and profound an exploration of the creative process as you’ll find, with one song, Finishing the Hat, standing as an eloquent illustration of the detail – emotional and physical – that goes into making art. The act’s finale, a physical re-creation of the aforementioned painting, is one of the most thrilling moments in musical theatre history.


Game Prediction

The Bears succeeded (ultimately) against Cleveland because their quarterback used his legs to extend drives and put points on the board. This Vikings defense will punish him if he thinks he can repeat that effort. The Bears are coming off a win and we all know what that means in the John Fox era.

Minnesota Vikings 31

Chicago Bears 10

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  • Tristan

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  • bearfaninde

    Wow..Vikings by 21 points, Jeff? Vegas has 13

    • Bear Instincts

      Vikings are a power house. They are what we should have been when Lovie had the defense playing great football.

      • DaBearsBlog

        They haven’t achieved a shred of what Lovie achieved yet. Let them win a playoff game.

      • They have Keenum.
        We had, well…

  • BerwynBomber

    My bet is Wright has already earned his return trip to Bourbanniase.

    • Dis Guy Trublinsky

      Yes. If he’s a #3, I’ll be happy.

      • DaBearsBlog

        Cam Meredith had 66 catches for 888 yards and 4 touchdowns. And it was his second year playing WR. They should absolutely expect production from him.

        • CanadaBear

          I hope you’re right but there are no guarantees after knee injuries.

          • BerwynBomber

            And his was gruesome.

        • Dis Guy Trublinsky

          My concern is his knee more than his ability. If Pace heads into this season with Meredith as his 1 or 2, he may be a groin pull away from Wright being his #1 for a quarter of the season. Nobody knows how Meredith will come back.

        • Victor Cruz once put up an 82 for 1500 and 9TDs.

          Never know how a guy comes back from INJ.

      • CanadaBear

        If they count on White for anything next season they are crazy. I’m hoping he comes out healthy and shows something. Certainly not counting on it. I have more faith in Meredith because he hasn’t been injured 3 years in a row. Still not counting on Meredith to be more than a #2 at best and more likely a #3.

        • SC Dave

          Hoping for White is a forlorn thing.

          • Sactowns#1

            Well ya never know. Perhaps he’ll come in next year with a fire to make it in this league and new adamantium bones.

          • Irish Sweetness

            And probably Cam, too. We have to look at this as some massive crisis. Maybe Inman gets his shit together and it was just not knowing the playbook that made him disappear … but free agency needs to bring us a guy.

    • BearDown100393

      Right on Wright.

  • catfish44

    MAYBE THERE IS SOME HOPE FOR THE BEARS. the aikman efficiency ratings may show so. The Aikman Ratings measure seven different categories of performance on both Offense and Defense. Devised by Troy Aikman in 2005 and compiled by STATS LLC, they provide a better measure of the qualities that win football games than simply total yards gained, the method used by the NFL to rank offenses and defenses. Originally designed where a score of 75 would be the average on both Offense and Defense, the swing towards Offense since has made a score above 80 the mean on that side of the ball while 70 has been an average Defense in recent years.
    The seven categories are Offensive Points (20%), Red-Zone Efficiency as measured by Points Per Red-Zone Possession (20%), Turnovers (20%), Yards per Rush (10%), Yards per Pass (10%), Third-Down Percentage (10%) and First Downs (10%).
    The Aikman Ratings measure seven different categories of performance on both Offense and Defense. Devised by Troy Aikman in 2005 and compiled by STATS LLC, they provide a better measure of the qualities that win football games than simply total yards gained, the method used by the NFL to rank offenses and defenses. Originally designed where a score of 75 would be the average on both Offense and Defense, the swing towards Offense since has made a score above 80 the mean on that side of the ball while 70 has been an average Defense in recent years.
    these ratings, to me, make more more sense than the NFL method of rating which is simply yards allowed on defense and yards gained on offense. not very insightful.
    The seven categories are Offensive Points (20%), Red-Zone Efficiency as measured by Points Per Red-Zone Possession (20%), Turnovers (20%), Yards per Rush (10%), Yards per Pass (10%), Third-Down Percentage (10%) and First Downs (10%). i haven’t found the defensive catagories yet.
    these ratings make much more sense to me than the NFL front office method of yards allowed on defense and yards gained on offense. their ratings are easy, but not very insightful. ”We would note for fans of teams near the bottom of the current Aikman Ratings that things can change quickly in the NFL.
    The Jaguars, now in 1st, were 26th in the final 2016 Aikman Ratings.
    The Rams, now 6th, were 32nd and last in the final 2016 Aikman Ratings.
    The Vikings, now 3rd, were 23rd in the final 2016 Aikman Ratings. ”———- aikman efficiency ratings. the ratings for the bears are currently 6th on defense and 24th on offense and 17th in total. they do not rate the special teams. what’s currently missing for the bears? perhaps what the jaguars, rams, and vikings acquired in making the improvements noted above – the right coaches and acquisition of playmakers. i see the bears quite lacking in both. not going to discuss ownership (it won’t change) and the GM much here. so, there is a lot to do. fangio is likely leaving according to reports. but, with a new coach, playmakers on the edge and secondary, and some time to adjust to new schemes perhaps the defense can become dominant in 1-2 years. so much work to do on offense, coaches and playmakers. and, will kyle long ever be able to be the player he once was? pace has drafted fairly well, but quite done quite poorly in free agency, which cannot continue. my right coach – dave toub and a hell of an offensive coordinator…

    • Dis Guy Trublinsky

      A healthy Kyle Long would be a luxury moving forward. The line has played better without him this year. I could see the Bears looking for one more solid swing tackle, but that OL is probably last on my immediate priority list.

      • BearDown100393

        A healthy Kyle Long of old verus a healthy old Kyle Long?

        Tune in 2018.

      • catfish44

        he was a near pro bowl player when healthy, but it has been some time. long, whitehair, sitton, leno, and a drafted, or free agent replacement for massie, would be impressive.

    • catfish44

      we should bring back Cutler, he would be able to increase my Aikman Ratings. i know seeing Cutler on the field always makes my loins ache with desire so he definitely increases my Acheman rating.

  • BearDown100393

    I expect the Bears to defeat the Vikings.

    Do not end the season winless in the division.

    • CanadaBear

      If they do they will finish the season winning 3 of 4. I hope you’re right but I’m not convinced.

      • BearDown100393

        It is the Bears’ job to convince us through winning instead of alibis and promises.

    • Irish Sweetness

      Cost us some draft positions there.

      • BearDown100393

        You play to win the game!!!!

  • Sactowns#1

    Any word on Shaheen? Does he suit up this week?

    • BearDown100393
      • Sactowns#1

        Having him this weekend would be big for numerous reasons. I’d like to see him get involved more in the passing game but more importantly I’d like to see him finish his season on a high note. Get a TD this game and go into the off season feeling good and ready to work.

        • BearDown100393

          If he’s healthy sure. If not, see ya next season.

    • CanadaBear

      No change in status at this point. Kinda doubt he plays.

  • CanadaBear

    Any interest in Dez Bryant? He said he won’t take a pay cut next year and I can’t imagine Dallas keeping him in 2018 for $12.5 mil. He’s a loose cannon and hardly the sharpest knife in the drawer but if anything will ever make him grow up this will. I”m not too keen on the idea but ya gotta start somewhere to rebuild the WR group.

    • willbest

      The Eagles signed Jeffery to a 13 mil per year deal with him playing about as well as Dez this year, and Jeffery comes without all the drama. I don’t know what kind of value you are going to get with Dez, who is 2 years older than Jeffery as well. I certainly wouldn’t trade for him, so unless he gets cut, that would be off the table.

      My ideal for next season assuming he isn’t tagged is Landry.
      1) Landry
      2) Meredith
      3) Wright
      4) Inman, Watkins, some draft pick
      5) Bellamy (He has caught over 70% of his targets the last 2 weeks, maybe he is finally getting in rhythm with Trub and he is a competent STer)
      6) White (because we are paying him $2.7 million regardless, but I wouldn’t be opposed to just eating that money for the roster spot)

      • CanadaBear

        Nobody will trade for him and pay that contract. He’s way too much of a head case for that. I like Landry, too. I think they need at least one more legit WR in FA (in addition to Landry). Meredith is pretty iffy at #2 considering the injury. Inman, Wright and Bellamy can fight it out for a couple of spots. I’m guessing Pace won’t give up on White and he comes back. #6 is the right spot at this point.

        • willbest

          I like Meredith because he has a full year of rehab. If it happened in December then he would need to be APs long lost brother for me to have confidence

          • But didn’t Meredith suffer nerve damage?

            That usually saps explosion.

          • Russian Hacked Pacebot 3.0

            He suffered a knee injury because he runs like a quarterback that caught a crossing route.
            Did you see howuch time he had to protect himself or angle his body differently before getting tackled? He’s not a pro WR and will never stay healthy.

          • evantonio

            You say “never” like he’s Kevin White out there. Didn’t he play a full 16 last season?

          • Russian Hacked Pacebot 3.0

            Cam is a great athlete but the NFL is full of great athletes. It takes a special kind of freak of nature and luck and escapability to survive. I fear that cam does not possess those subtle skills to not get leg blasted at all times.

          • evantonio

            He has already survived a full season. Does that not count?

        • Bear Instincts

          the patriots will trade or pick him up if he is released. they did it with floyd

      • If Bellamy can catch, he’ll be a baller.

        He’s got size, speed and spunk. He’s a violent run blocker, no doubt from his sp team mentality.

        Bellamy always seems to get open. The only one of our current WRs who gets any sort of separation.

        If he can just freaking catch, I think he can be better than Meredith.

        • CanadaBear

          Big if but I agree. He’s certainly looked better of late. From what I’ve seen of Landry, he’s not that tall but he’s put together. He’s kinda like Weems with waaaaaaaaayyy more talent. He has that cornered badger thing going on. Gotta like that.

      • Also, I would have to watch more tape on Landry.

        Maybe Waffle can give us scouting report on him since he’s been a defacto Fins fan this season.

        Landry is a bit smallish though. 5’11 210

        Edit. fetched this blurb from FF

        “Landry joined Brandon Marshall, Anquan Boldin, and Larry Fitzgerald as the only players in NFL history with multiple 100-reception seasons within their first four seasons in the NFL. Landry currently sits at No. 7 in the NFL with 27.6 percent of his team’s targets”

        • Irish Sweetness

          Small. Would you draft Steve Smith?

          We do need a big guy, but when you see those dudes that 100+ rec seasons just seem to magically rack up …. they’re good to have around and can save a young QB more to the point.

          • CanadaBear

            Aren’t you the guy that’s always complaining about midgets?

      • Sactowns#1

        My guess. Tennessee wont be able to sign all their WR talent so Decker or Douglas will hit the street. Paul Richardson and Marquees Lee are also interesting.

        • Paul Richardson is extremely explosive, but another small dude

          6’0 183

          • Sactowns#1

            I’m not mad at that. Get him in the slot and let him and Cohen run streaks. See if any DB’s can keep up.

          • Yeah, but it seems like all we got are slot guys.

            Wright, Cohen, maybe even Inman.

        • AlbertInTucson

          Not sure the Bears should be interested in Decker who has 51 catches this season for less than 11 yards a catch with only 1 TD.

    • TomC

      Wait, is he a cannon or a knife? Either way, I don’t want any part. He’s not even the best WR on his own team anymore (Williams is better), and he’s certainly not worth that kind of money.

      • CanadaBear

        He’s a possession receiver at this point. If the money was low enough I’d be fine with bringing him in. My guess is someone will over pay for him after Dallas releases him.

    • It feels like a downgrade from Alshon.

      Dez more of a diva. I think he’s been an INJ a lot. Older. Seems to disappear for long stretches
      (but this might be a scheme thing. Every time I watch the Boys, it seems like they prefer throwing it to everyone but Dez)

      He will also likely cost more.

      That being said, gotta see what’s available in FA.

    • AlbertInTucson

      I’d pass on Dez.

  • I’m actually kinda excited to see Trub this week.

    The Vikes are the cream of the crop in our div. Great D.

    I want to see how far Trub has come.

    Does he still look uncomfortable in the pocket? Is he recognizing some coverages now pre-snap? Will he actually be allowed to audible ONCE in his rookie campaign? How fast is he going through his progressions? Will he continue to show touch in screen games? Can he still throw it into tight windows with garbage around him? How about silent count in what might be a rocking stadium. Time management. Down-distance awareness. Feel pressure. Throw aways.

    I expect our run game to get bottled up, and for Trub to be under duress most of the game, so how does he handle the pressure? With poise or TOs and sacks?

    There’s a lot of other players to look at too as was mentioned.

    Bullard. Hey, if we switch to a 4-3, he might become a 3tech. Is he good enough or will we have to draft high for one?

    Cunningham. Looked good last week, but do we need an upgrade at 3rd HB?

    Dion Simms – is he really a JAG? Looks like it

    Callahan – looks good, but always unhealthy. Is he good enough to hang with Thielan/Diggs? is he worth the investment?

    I don’t know which Olinemen are even playing – Sowell, Compton, Bradon Greene? Are any worth shit?

    Does Wright continue his steady reliable floor?

    Does Bellamy give us chubs by catching?

    I like that we’re playing the div champs and SB contenders in the last game.

    It’s a good litmus test about how far we need to go.

    My guess is somewhere between the LeftCoast blowjob and ButtonShoes dumpfest.

    Lets just hope Trub doesn’t finish the season with a 3TO meltdown cuz the stink of that is going to last for 9 months, esp if that guy in SF keeps tearing it up.

    • BearDown100393

      Not a bad rookie campaign all things considered if the most to complain about is a 3 TO performance.

    • leftcoastdave

      Hey, now, wait just one minute.

      I’m the one who called it out that Bellamy got hand transplants in the off season and now he is number two receiver in yards and catches on the team.

      This team has a great, deep core now with six quality D linemen to rotate next year and a kick butt backfield on both sides of the line.

      That first round draft pick can either be a great OT or a great Edge.

      With an off season to gel an offense, this team will rock.

    • TomC

      The weirdest thing about matchup #1 is that Trubisky looked great on the first few drives, and if it weren’t for a BS holding call and some other screwups, the Bears would have been up multiple scores by the time Minnesota realized Bradford was barely conscious and put in Keenum. But it seemed like either Minnesota figured something out or Fox demanded the swaddling clothes be put on, because for the rest of that game (and the next several weeks), the passing game was nonexistent.

  • Some sweet Thayer break down on PAs.

    Also, that bootleg throw on the run. Impressive.

    That’s what the Dalton’s of the league can’t do.

    • BerwynBomber

      Bisky looks as good running that boot as any guy in the league short of Wilson.

  • Some gameday Trub.

    Spoiler alert. He’s not smoking a menthols

    .

    • BearDown100393

      Good stuff

      • I love how Mark Sanchez preps him.

        “Great footwork. Great reads. Great decisions. Good ball.”

        Than again, he is from SC. represent!

        • Dis Guy Trublinsky

          He’s doing a pretty damn good Gruden impersonation there.

        • BearDown100393

          Impressive
          Most impressive

    • Dis Guy Trublinsky

      Trubisky: not a douche.

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    • That Guy

      Sanchez is basically a very well paid QB coach. Expect him to be off an NFL roster and on a coaching staff pretty soon.

  • EnderWiggin

    FF: I’ve DESTROYED everyone the last three weeks – to no avail.

  • catfish44

    i just waxed my balls.

    • Dis Guy Trublinsky

      How’d it go? Any problems, issues, concerns?

      • I think Dr. Evil does the same

      • catfish44

        not so good. i did it with a DIY kit, where I melted down crayons for the wax. right now half my sack is blue and the other half is as orange as Trumps face. i am pretty sure i got 2nd degree burns on my nutsack and taint.

        • Dis Guy Trublinsky

          Turrible. You probably had that coming though.

  • BerwynBomber

    Wonder where Rudolph is showing up in the mocks? Dang, there seems like a lot of high-end QBs this draft.

    • Yup. Like I said in April, next draft will be plush with QBs.

      Rosen, Darnold, Josh Allen, Mayfield and Rudolph would all be ahead of Trub or Watson if they were in the same draft.

      Doesn’t guarantee anything, but, something to ponder.

  • Irish Sweetness

    Why is Mitch playing? Or Howard. Makes no sense whatsoever.

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