Last year’s column caused a FIRESTORM when readers had the nerve to question the veracity of my claiming a more than 50% success rate on the 2013 version. What did I do? I answered with a stunning 51.38% success rate in 2014. This success was not lost on the American public but I did not know how far my column reached.
So without further adieu, fifty prognostications, pontifications and ponderings on the 2015 season with a nod to every single team in the league.
#1 Nobody’s opinion of Jay Cutler will be different on January 4th 2016 than it is right now.
#2 Andrew Luck will win the MVP award if his offensive line figures out a way to block people.
There are many around the league who are quietly optimistic about the Vikings this year. OK, so they’re not quiet at all. They’re actually quite annoyingly loud. It’s kind of weird considering that, in terms of DVOA, they were better than just Jacksonville, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Washington, New York Jets and, of course, the Bears. But they went 7-9 last year with a young roster and the expectation is that they will improve in their second year under Mike Zimmer.
There’s no question that Zimmer immediately changed the culture in Minnesota. Leslie Frazier seems like a nice guy, but there was no personality to him or any of his teams and he has a girls name. The players liked Frazier, but they accepted losing rather easily. Zimmer doesn’t put up with any bull shit. He’s a psychotic competitor and the Vikings seemed to take on that personality at times last season.
While Jeff is getting drunk and golfing in Ireland, I have been put in charge of doing NFC North Previews for DBB. To help get knowledge on some of the other teams, I called up a pair of colleagues and they had the same thought about the NFC North standings this year: The Packers will finish first and the Bears will finish last.
While my attempts to record podcasts with both failed, I spoke with Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Jeff Risdon of RealGM and ESPN 961 and they both were in agreement on how the division would shake out.
The expectations for the Bears are at Wannstedt-level lows, but there are several reasons to think that they’re going to be better than almost everyone is predicting.
The common predictions for the Bears are ranging everywhere from 4-12 to 8-8. Not crazy when you consider they went 5-11 last year, but to describe them merely as a team that had that record last year is missing so much of the picture. As awful as they were just a short time ago, the Bears have some stuff going for them and that stuff might just be enough to get them into the playoffs in 2015. Here are five reasons why the Bears are going to be better than you think.
There has been a general assumption that the NFC North is a great division, but both Detroit and Minnesota have major weaknesses that could be their downfall.
In August of 2005 I self-produced my first play, Shore Points, at the Irish Arts Center in New York. It was a limited run but still ranks amongst the most exciting experiences of my life. I decided over the run to sell Coors Light cans in the lobby for the powerful, almighty “suggested donation” as a means of erasing at least some of the credit card debt I was quickly accruing. My family came. My friends came. Friends of my family came. Family of my friends came. And they all drank. A lot.
I took the cash and went to Ireland with Noah Brier, co-founder of this website, in October of that year. We were in a town called Dundalk on Sunday October 16th. Dundalk like many Irish towns is in a Catholic coma on Sundays aside from a few pubs specializing in fine Sunday roasts serving creatures most of us find cute. No smart phones. No open internet cafes. Nothing. And the Bears were playing the Vikings at noon CT.
We found a pay phone. And for three hours continually called a friend in New York. Every fifteen minutes or so. We didn’t stop calling until Thomas Jones ran in a longish touchdown early in the fourth quarter, making the game 21-3. Updates at an Irish payphone. More than $40 spent. That’s how much I care about the Chicago Bears. That passion led to the creation of this website a few weeks after I arrived back in the states.
For the last three weeks, for the first time in my life, I have watched the Chicago Bears play football and not cared an iota about the result. They have played the care out of me. They are a nothing team led by nothing men deserving nothing from their dedicated fans.
So Adam Schefter reports the Bears can save some money by trading Jay Cutler this spring and the football world goes into a tizzy. Would the Bears do it? Who are the possible trade partners?? Jets? Bills? Rams? Rochester Jeffersons? Where will Camden go to school? How will Kristin cope with a city change? How many people will turn up for Waddle & Silvy remotes with Jimmy Clausen?
Take a breath. Two things.
First, I don’t believe for a second the Bears have interest in trading Jay Cutler. Phil Emery has displayed loyalty to Shea McClellin, his first draft pick, in the face of a city-wide firing squad against the former Boise State star. You really believe he would excommunicate a quarterback he just guaranteed $54 million?
Second, if the Bears traded Jay Cutler it would be pure, unadulterated stupidity; a short-sighted, cave-to-the-crowd mistake by an organization that has completely lost direction.
Those who are saying the Bears should be tanking the remainder of the season are the types of fans I’ll never understand. Win games. Win as many as you can. Draft where you’re slotted. This was a nice, convincing win from the Bears. But it doesn’t mean anything if they don’t string a few together. It’s step one in a reclamation project for the coach, quarterback…etc. Here are my thoughts: