A week ago – yes, it was only a week ago – every comment, Tweet and email directed my way was about the 2014 offseason. The Bears season was going to be ended unceremoniously at Lambeau Field and Mel Tucker Watch was going to begin. Then Shea “Packer Killer” McClellin was turned loose on Aaron Rodgers. Season reborn? Who knows…
One thing is clear. The winner of Sunday’s showdown between the Bears and Lions will be the clear favorite to win the NFC North. Makes it so much easier to ask the It is age-old question…
Why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?
I always like the Chicago Bears.
BUT WHAT FOOTBALL REASONS, JEFF?
- Suddenly the Bears can rush the passer? Shea McClellin and Julius Peppers delivered the effort Bears fans had clamored for Monday night in Green Bay. Can they sustain that intensity and harass Matthew Stafford, a quarterback they’ve dominated at Soldier Field? I think they can.
- The moment is huge. Marc Trestman has an opportunity to take the Chicago Bears into first place in the NFC North by beating a rival at home. His offense is humming, even with backup quarterback Josh McCown. Trestman has shown the position is not too big for him. That continues.
- I like that Kyle Long is getting his second crack at Ndamukong Suh and think we’ll see significantly different results.
- Detroit does not defend the pass well (26th) and does not sack the quarterback any better (29th). I expect Trestman and Kromer to put Cutler into good down and distances by throwing early. The biggest mistake a team can make against Detroit is attempting to run up the middle on early downs and allowing Suh and Fairley to dominate the line of scrimmage.
- A few things to take from the first meeting. (1) Jay Cutler was a turnover machine, throwing three interceptions and fumbling for a touchdown. Bears won’t commit those turnovers at home. (2) Detroit had little success in the second half against the Bears on offense. Was something learned by the Bears or did Detroit take their foot off the gas? (3) The Bears offense dominated the game in the fourth quarter. Was something learned by the Bears or did Detroit take their foot off the gas?
- It just seems every member of the Bears offense – line, receivers, tight end, backs – are playing their best right now. Nothing more can be asked as we turn to the second half of the season.
- Jay Cutler returns. And I expect a big performance.
ON JAY CUTLER’S RETURN
- I marked the injured region above so you’re clear.
- I think this week can finally put an end to the Is Jay Cutler Tough? debate. Cutler’s injury was absolutely a four-week injury and no doctor, outside Dr. Brandon Marshall, even ENTERTAINED an earlier return. Impressive.
- I don’t buy for a single second Cutler’s return was not influenced by Josh McCown’s performance over the last six quarters. McCown had been near flawless since taking over at QB and if he put together another brilliant four-quarter run and beat another division rival…the debate over who to start against Baltimore the following week would be a merited one.
- It will be interesting to see how Trestman handles the game if Cutler begins to show any physical limitations. If Jay looks hobbled or is unable to plan his back foot, would Trest go to his bullpen early to prevent throwing away a pivotal division contest?
- This is an opportunity for Cutler to put a stranglehold on the position for the next five years. Step onto the field Sunday, pull a 28-34, 345, 3 TD, 0 INT and fans will embrace the $75 million contract you sign this winter.
DA BEAR CONCERNS
Concern #1: Why would anyone believe the Bears will stop the Lions run game? After watching them play the Packers Monday night I’m not sure they could stop the run game of me and eleven my closest friends.
Concern #2: Calvin Johnson is better than everyone in the world at catching footballs. It doesn’t matter if he’s doubled or tripled, Stafford is going to throw the ball up in the air and let Megatron collect it. He usually does. Maybe line up Shea McClellin on Johnson early?
Concern #3: Lions coaches had a bye week to prepare for the Bears defense. Not sure they needed the bye week but they had it.
OLD ELVIS COSTELLO PICKED DA BEARS
MATCH-UP OF REMARKABLE IMPORTANCE
- Bears safeties Chris Conte & Major Wright vs. Correct Angles, Proper Tackling Technique & Ball Awareness. Conte and Wright will be tested most by the Lions’ two most prominent weapons: Bush and Johnson. Can the safeties improve their disgraceful work in run support and keep the seven yard run from going for seventy? Can they find the ball downfield and keep it from falling into the wide open hands of Megatron? They struggled Monday with almost zero responsibility in the passing game. Those responsibilities increase quite a bit Sunday.
From the Twitter feed of Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free-Press:
Raiola on Chi fans: “I don’t like them. And I don’t think they like me, either. I don’t really care. I’m not talking about them this year.”
Does any Chicago Bears fan spend ten seconds thinking about Dominic Raiola? I know that I won’t be restless in bed Saturday night worry about Raiola’s influence on Sunday’s contest. Guys like Raiola have such an inflated sense of self-importance it is almost comical. You’re the center. On the Lions. Calm down.
MOST INTERESTING PLAYER ON THE FIELD
- I wrote a week ago the Bears needed a great performance out of the defensive ends and some of you (*cough*gpldan*cough*) mocked that contention. What do the Bears need Sunday? They need Charles Tillman to play like Charles Tillman. They need the defense’s best player to line up against the opposing offense’s best player and keep him under control. He’ll get his catches and probably hit them for seven at some point but Tillman must be tasked with making the 5-7 yard slant a living hell for Calvin Johnson. He needs to make sure that once Megatron has the football, he hits the ground. And it wouldn’t hurt to knock the ball out a few times either. Tillman just played an ENTIRE game. Now he needs to play a GREAT one.
THIS VIDEO HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH FOOTBALL
I find that younger people don’t know anything about the TV series Taxi and they should. Some of the best comedy acting in the history of television. My friend Mike Lapinski and I were once kicked out of the Museum of Television and Radio in NYC for laughing too hard at this scene.
A SINGLE STAT PREDICTION (I’ve lost track)
- McClellin and Peppers register three or more sacks between them.
WRAPPING IT UP IN A FEW SENTENCES
- I have no faith in the Bears defense, especially after their sieve-like performance against the run Monday night. But I think Jay Cutler and the Bears will move the ball consistently down the field, score a bunch of points and the defense causes a turnover at the right moment in the fourth quarter.
- Chicago Bears 38, Detroit Lions 28