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Who the Hell is Bausby? (Bears/Packers Rapid Fire)

| October 21st, 2016

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I mean, really, what’s the point?

When Matt Barkley enters a game for your team, one of two things is happening. Either (a) your team has a 65-point lead or (b) your team has no other choice. For the Bears, it’s the latter. And the Bears will be non-competitive in every game he plays moving forward.

  • Barkley spoiled what looked to be a heroic performance from Vic Fangio and the Bears defense. With Bausby and LeBlanc in at a corner, the Bears defense dominated the game for much of three quarters until, you know, Barkley. When you see the defense play this well you can understand why many, myself included, thought this was going to be a top ten unit coming into the season.
  • If you were looking for a breakout game from Leonard Floyd, you got it. Two sacks, a forced fumble and a touchdown was exactly the kind of head-turning performance Floyd needed. Nice to see the defensive coaching staff turn him loose on an opposing QB as opposed to having him run ten yards downfield with tight ends.
  • I have never seen a team deal with injuries like this. It’s reached comical levels and from the sound of it, Kyle Long isn’t going to be playing football any time soon.

I have nothing else to say.

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Money Mouth: Divisional Round Picks

| January 15th, 2016

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I have no idea what’s going to happen this weekend. Not a single result would surprise me. So I’m going back to picking SOMETHING for these games. I finished the season six over .500. Still have a chance to get to ten over. But I need a strong performance. (For some reason I didn’t include spreads last week but I would have gone 2-2 any way you slice it.)

PATRIOTS OVER 23.5 PTS VS. CHIEFS

Here’s what Bill Belichick knows: his offensive line can’t protect Tom Brady from the Chiefs pass rush. And since no coach in history has been better at self-evaluation, he won’t ask them to try. Instead Brady will go to the quick-release pass attack with Edelman Edelman Edelman and neutralize Houston, Hali and company. I think it works. Not sure if Pats are healthy enough to win but they are healthy enough to score.

PACKERS +7 AT CARDINALS

I am going to be rooting very hard in this game so I’m making an emotional hedge. Would love to lose this one.

PANTHERS OVER 23.5 PTS VS. SEAHAWKS

Here are the Carolina scores over the last 8 games: 27, 44, 33, 41, 38, 38, 13, 38. I say they play with a chip on their shoulder as the media at-large keeps trying to convince fans the team is overrated. (2015 Panthers remind me an awful lot of the 2006 Bears. Nobody thought that team could make the Super Bowl until their plane landed in Miami.) Bold prediction: Panthers beat them up.

I will not be making a selection in the Broncos/Steelers game as there’s no point. Unless someone can prove to me Roethlisberger will be healthy it’s a sucker’s wager. But without Antonio Brown I’d need a big number to take Pittsburgh.

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Playoff Picks: Wildcard Round

| January 8th, 2016

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Administrative Note: We’ll resume our postseason positional analysis columns on Monday with running backs, Tuesday with wide receivers, Wednesday with tight ends & Thursday we’ll wrap up the offensive side of the ball with our analysis of the line. (Defense will come after the division round.)

KANSAS CITY AT HOUSTON

Am I willing to embrace the notion of Brian Hoyer winning a postseason game? No, I’m not. Am I willing to cast my support unabashedly for Andy Reid in a postseason game? No, I’m not. But since I picked the Chiefs to make the Super Bowl in August I might as well continue seeing red. And on a football note, the Chiefs don’t look to throw the ball downfield so their short passing attack should be able to neutralize the Houston’s greatest asset: Watt, Whitney and the pass rush. Chiefs 20, Texans 13

PITTSBURGH AT CINCINNATI

Here’s what I keep hearing from folks analyzing the wildcard round: nobody wants to play the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here’s my follow-up question: why? The Steelers controlled their road to the postseason and lost to Marc Trestman and Ryan Mallett! (And the game wasn’t particularly close.) Then in Week 17 the Steelers were horrible against Cleveland, with Big Ben throwing ugly picks to second-rate linebackers. If Austin Davis weren’t starting for the Browns and they didn’t decide to fumble away the second half, the Jets would be in the playoffs. So is Pittsburgh just going to turn it on? Bengals 24, Steelers 22

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FrontRowTickets.com Game Preview: Bears & Bucs Play Out the String (Christmas Edition!)

| December 24th, 2015

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THE GAME POEM

THOUGHTS ON THE TAMPA BAY BUCS

  • Bucs offense is simple. They want to hand the ball off a zillion times to Doug Martin and then make plays down the field to Mike Evans off play-action. If their running game is shut down it greatly limits their effectiveness to move the ball/score points.
  • Earlier in the week I paired the Bucs and Bears as two teams that weren’t ready to put themselves in the thick of a playoff chase. Four weeks ago the Bucs were 5-5 and positioned well to make a run at the 6th seed. Since then they’ve lost to a Luck-less Colts, a Saints team playing out the string and were roughed up last Thursday night by the Rams until mounting a late comeback. This is a team with a lot of weapons and a bright future. But they’re not there yet. The question will be whether Lovie can get them over the top in 2016.
  • Tampa’s rush defense is very good, allowing 30 less yards per game on the ground than Chicago. If the Bears think they’re going to control this game on the ground it’s unlikely. The way to attack Tampa is to isolate a couple familiar fellows at the backend of their secondary (Conte, Wright…etc.) and throw the ball down the field. The question will be whether any of the Bears receivers can get any separation.

NEW CHRISTMAS CLASSICS

Each year, from Thanksgiving until Christmas, I (like many) indulge in the joy that is the Christmas movie. And it surprises me that movies and television shows still find their way into the rotation. This last year produced two new additions.

A VERY MURRAY CHRISTMAS

It’s television the way television used to be made in the days of soundstages and cigarette holders and Dean Martin. Everything about it is a throwback and it’s still completely original. The highlight? George Clooney popping out repeatedly from behind Christmas trees to deliver the chorus of Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’.

DIFFICULT PEOPLE, “DIFFICULT CHRISTMAS”

The best new comedy on television in 2015 was Julie Klausner’s Difficult People and the final episode of the season, the Christmas episode, might have been the best. The highlight? Klausner getting fired from her job as a gift wrapper for reciting the story of Capturing the Friedmans to a customer.

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Money Where My Mouth Is: Three Picks For Week 13

| December 3rd, 2015

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Had a solid 2-1 day last week without putting the slightest bit of thought into the picks. My goal every year in gambling on football is to be 10 games over .500 at the end of the season. Have some to work to do down the stretch to achieve that.

GREEN BAY & DETROIT OVER 46.5 PTS

The Lions have finally started running their offense: drop Matthew Stafford back and throw bombs to Calvin Johnson. (Surprised it took promoting Jim Bob Cooter to recognize what the entire football watching public has seen for years.) I think Detroit puts up 24-30 on Green Bay and the Packers, who’ll play with desperation, should be their equal. 46.5 is a high number but it wouldn’t surprise me if this game goes into the 60s.

CHICAGO -7 VS. SAN FRANCISCO

Explanation will be available tomorrow in the game preview.

BUFFALO & HOUSTON UNDER 41 PTS

Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel is from the Parcells/Belichick school of game preparation. What does that mean? It means he’ll look at the Bills tape and say, “We’re not going to let Sammy Watkins beat us.” And if you watch enough of the Bills you realize they are one team when Watkins is effective and another team when he’s injured/taken out of the game.

The Texans offense isn’t any good. Both teams should be in the teens.

Season Record: 19-15-2

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Art of Men’s Thanksgiving Day Games Thread (Including Da Bears)

| November 26th, 2015

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Art of Men, one of our main sponsors, is quickly becoming a force in the service world. They now have 1,600 members committed to doing good in the communities that need them. Last Saturday several members – including myself – provided 250 Thanksgiving turkey dinners to families in NYC’s Spanish Harlem. For full details on the event CLICK HERE.

I urge all readers of this site to simply go to ArtofMen.org on their phone and pop their email address into the space provided. You won’t regret it.

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