(1) The Bears have to attack this banged up offensive line tonight, especially with both starting tackles unlikely to play. Unleash Leonard Floyd to make Aaron Rodgers wildly uncomfortable in the pocket. Rodgers will still complete the short stuff but the Bears secondary is keeping the game in front of them and, more importantly, tackling well. Quick releases mean fewer big plays. Quick releases require pressure.
(2) Tarik Cohen had 12 carries and 4 catches Sunday. That feels right. Cohen needs to touch the ball at least 15 times a game. He’s the most explosive Bears player since Devin Hester.
(3) Pat O’Donnell needs to improve upon his terrific punting performance at Soldier Field Sunday. The longer the field for Rodgers, the more likely we’ll see an offensive line breakdown from that beleaguered unit.
(4) Green Bay is bottom third of the league against the run and one of the worst rushing teams. Bears have to run it and run it and run it. And when the running game doesn’t work, run it some more.
(5) Reiterate what I yelled yesterday. With Glennon, Bears have to be perfect to win at home. What the hell do they have to do on the road, at Lambeau, in primetime?
(Bonus) Adam Jahns reported yesterday that ownership will not stand by and watch this franchise continue to lose. I was told the switch to Trubisky is coming and coming soon. One wonders if tonight is not truthfully Glennon’s last stand.
Administrative Note: The Weekend Show will return Super Bowl week and continue to run throughout the off-season. Our guests will not only be Bears-related but also branch out to other Chicago institutuions – bars, restaurants, culture, politics…etc. And we’ll do A LOT on the quarterbacks available in this draft.
Went 3-1 against the spread last week but only 2-2 picking winners. So I’m an alarmingly mediocre 4-4 ATS and 5-3 picking winners this postseason. Not good.
Atlanta had the most impressive win of the division round. Took some body blows early from a proven contender and then did what this franchise has failed to do for what feels like a decade: knocked out an opponent. This is unquestionably the most exciting and dynamic offense left in the playoffs. But what I love about the construction of this roster is they are now equipped to hold a lead because of a young, exciting pass rush.
Will that matter against Aaron Rodgers? Nobody knows. Rodgers is now playing the quarterback position better than anyone in the history of the league. His receiving corps stinks. His running back is a slot receiver. He has a brilliant pass blocking offensive line but the rest of Ted Thompson’s team is the definition of mediocrity. Can Rodgers win this game? Of course he can. But I’m saying the magic runs out. Barely.
Falcons 41, Packers 38
I have no idea what to make of this game.
Houston’s defense was brilliant a week ago but were beaten by two things: (1) Weirdo Tom Brady moon balls his receivers managed to haul in and (2) their own quarterback throwing the ball to the other team. If the Patriots had either the Chiefs or Steelers on the other side of the field Saturday night, I don’t think they’re playing this week.
Kansas City should have beaten Pittsburgh but Andy Reid and Alex Smith executed an offensive game plan the league hasn’t seen since the invention of the forward pass. (Reid is quickly venturing into Schottenheimer territory.)
Here’s what I know. Le’Veon Bell is amazing, Bill Belichick knows that and agenda item number one for the Patriots will be stopping him. If they do, they win. If they don’t…?
Patriots 24, Steelers 21
28-13 Steelers late. Matt Moore brings the Dolphins down the field for a solid backdoor cover.
Steelers 28, Dolphins 20
Giants 17, Packers 13
Travel day. Not a lot of time to write. But here are my quick thoughts.
Thoughts from a solid, entertaining day with the NFL.
(1) Norv Turner may be gone but the Minnesota offense isn’t going to be a title contender with those tackles and those skill guys. Detroit’s defense – in their new building – should have been the remedy. But not only did they struggle moving the ball but they’re now getting Sam Bradford hit with regularity. And we all know what happens when you get Bradford hit. You get Bradford hurt.
(2) Matthew Stafford is becoming the best late-game quarterback in the league. Detroit’s offense was lifeless throughout the second half but with the game on the line and clock expiring, Stafford did what he’s done so often for this organization: pulled a win out of a loss.
(3) John Elway has been a brilliant GM for the Broncos. But he is wasting a year of a great defense by doing this Trevor Siemian stuff. The second the Broncos fall behind in a game, they’ve lost.
(4) Ted Thompson has done a terrible job building the Packers roster and Mike McCarthy will probably be fired for it. Aaron Rodgers’ play will receive the most scrutiny but Andrew Luck ripped that defense to shreds Sunday. Why? Because that defense isn’t any good.