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Week 17: NYE Bears at Vikings Game Preview

| December 28th, 2017

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears. And I like them even more after seeing their young nucleus live. This week I’m peppering the preview with a couple of my favorite finales in musical theatre history. Why? Because I run things around here and realistically can do whatever the hell I want.


Poem

Enter twenty-eighteen.

Never has the calendar been more desperate for change.

Daylight approaches, I promise.


Fiddler

As great as Fiddler on the Roof is, and I think it’s the greatest musical ever written, it is never quite given enough credit for how bold it is in its storytelling. Fiddler is not a tragedy but it ends tragically, with the Jewish citizens of a Russian village forced to leave their home, Anatevka. The song is a funeral dirge, a self-deprecating requiem for a way of life these people know they’ll never find again. But there is optimism in this dour ballad, even if it’s difficult to find. Because these people are going to a new world, a new frontier, creating a new America.


Some Thoughts on the Actual Game

  • There is a scenario wherein the Vikings are not the second seed in the NFC playoffs. Far-fetched but it exists. And that should be enough to motivate them all week. And if they’re motivated, the game is over. At halftime Sunday the Bears led the Browns 6-3 in one of the more lifeless halves of football ever played. If the Bears play a similar half in Minneapolis they’ll be down two or three touchdowns because the Vikings are simply not the Browns. They’re quite good.

  • After Sunday, the Bears will only have a week to interview Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and they should absolutely interview him. No, he’s not my first choice but Shurmur is an interesting offensive mind and Ryan Pace should gather as much info from those types as he possible can during this hiring process. If Pace attends this game, does he just stay there? Does he have to fire Fox in Chicago Monday AM or can he take care of that in Minnesota?
  • Minnesota is the best defense in the league. That may have been debatable before Jimmy G torched Jacksonville but it is not any longer. The Bears won’t have success throwing it, not with their receivers. They won’t have success running it, not after Jordan Howard’s whopping two-yards-per-carry performance against Cleveland at Soldier Field. This is a game the Bears need to let Mitch Trubisky have. Let him try and make plays. If he fails, he fails. But if he doesn’t, think of the excitement that will build heading into the off-season.
  • Three Bears players with significant stakes this week: (a) Kyle Fuller. How the Bears handle his contract will be one of the first big off-season decisions for Pace. How Fuller plays against these terrific Vikings receivers could impact that. (b) Kendall Wright signed a one-year deal last off-season but as Tru has become more comfortable behind center, Wright has become his most reliable target with 21 catches over the last 3 weeks. Capping off a solid December should be enough to earn him a return trip in 2018. (c) If we assume the Bears will have new defensive coaches next season, Jonathan Bullard could sure use a bit of solid game tape. Bullard flashed against Cleveland Sunday but it’ll be interesting to see how he plays against the Vikings, especially if Akiem Hicks is given a much-deserved breather.

Sunday

Sunday in the Park with George is really two one-act musicals but it’s first act is the masterwork. In it, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine explore Georges Seurat’s creation of his masterpiece, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. (If you’ve never seen that painting at the Art Institute of Chicago, stop reading this crap and go.) This act is as deep and profound an exploration of the creative process as you’ll find, with one song, Finishing the Hat, standing as an eloquent illustration of the detail – emotional and physical – that goes into making art. The act’s finale, a physical re-creation of the aforementioned painting, is one of the most thrilling moments in musical theatre history.


Game Prediction

The Bears succeeded (ultimately) against Cleveland because their quarterback used his legs to extend drives and put points on the board. This Vikings defense will punish him if he thinks he can repeat that effort. The Bears are coming off a win and we all know what that means in the John Fox era.

Minnesota Vikings 31

Chicago Bears 10

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