The greatest punchline in the history of television comedy.
We need laughs now, more than ever.
The Bears are a dreadful football team. On a neutral field, this Sunday, I would not favor the them against any team in the league. Not Atlanta. Not Tampa. Not the Jets or Jaguars or Raiders or the Buffalo Grove Bison.
So why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?
I *sigh* always like the Chicago Bears.
Yesterday I wrote about the importance of these final seven games for Marc Trestman and the Chicago Bears organization. Re-writing that piece seven times before the end of the calendar year does not interest me in the slightest so I’ll treat each game with the same import I treated the first nine. And I will ask questions.
How will Teddy Bridgewater handle the conditions in Chicago?
The temperature is supposed to be 34 degrees at Soldier Field Sunday with winds in the 15-20 MPH range. Bridgewater is a kid from south Florida who spent his college career in Kentucky. One has to imagine these will be the coldest, most difficult conditions he has faced in his football-playing career. (It will be interesting to see how Teddy handles these outdoor home games in Minnesota over the next two years.)
From a Courier-Journal piece:
Can Teddy Bridgewater handle freezing temperatures in Minnesota?
That’s the question ESPN’s Stats & Information department is asking Monday after researching the University of Louisville’s cold-weather performances. Bridgewater’s production is a tick lower when temperatures dip below 50 degrees, but ESPN found that while at U of L, he never started a game in freezing cold air.
“With the Vikings playing their home games outdoors for the next two seasons, in addition to away games at Green Bay and Chicago every season, Bridgewater’s ability to adapt to cold temperatures could have an impact on his long-term success,” wrote ESPN’s Sharon Katz.
The closest Bridgewater came to below-freezing was in the Cardinals’ 2012 home loss to Connecticut, when the thermometer hit 34 degrees for the early kickoff. That day, U of L fell in triple overtime and the Florida native suffered a broken left wrist in the second quarter.
Two advantages he’ll have? Wide open receivers and the return of Kyle Rudolph to the lineup. Bridgewater will need to be decisive and accurate. If he is those two things there is no reason to believe the conditions will will have an adverse effect on his performance. But everyone has seen even the best quarterbacks (Drew Brees) whither at Soldier in the cold.
CAN JAY CUTLER START FAST (AND, IF NOT, WHERE IS HIS HEAD)?
This is not the week for the Chicago Bears to be returning home to Soldier Field. It is cold now in Chicago. The faithful have watched the worst back-to-work performances in the history of the organization. Fans are going to rightfully walk into the building Sunday morning with a chip on their shoulder, ready to boo, ready to express the rage they’ve been bottling for the last month. The subject of that derision will unquestionably be Jay Cutler should he struggle in the early going.
If Cutler starts fast, leads a few long scoring drives, throws a few touchdown passes, he’ll escape unscathed Sunday. But if he struggles, throws a silly interception, fumbles after a sack, how will he respond to 60,000 people screaming for his head (and quite possibly for his backup, Jimmy Clausen). Brandon Marshall has questioned the confidence of the Bears locker room. How shaken will the quarterback’s confidence be should he feel suffocated by the exasperated groans of their home fans?
Does the Bears defense have anything left?
Vikings offense is well-coached. They have weapons like Greg Jennings, Jarius Wright and Cordarrelle Patterson on the outside. Jerick McKinnon, since taking over the starting running back role, is averaging five yards a carry. Yes, they are bottom of the league in both yards and points per game but if ever there were an elixir for what ails them it is the Chicago Bears defense as led by Mel Tucker.
Does this group have anything? Like…anything? And I am referring to all of them. Can Kyle Fuller regain some of that early season magic? Can Tim Jennings be allowed to just cover guys without sliding them into wide open spaces? Does Briggs have any pride left? Does Allen have any gas left? Does anybody have the desire to not be remembered as the worst defense in the history of the Bears organization?
I don’t think so. But I’d be thrilled to be wrong.
Final Score Prediction
Chicago Bears 23, Minnesota Vikings 20 (OT)