I’m traveling on the continent this week so my content will be abbreviated.
Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears this Week?
I always like the Chicago Bears…
…and I better like them because the game won’t kick-off in Paris until 2:30 AM. And I will be watching.
Why The Bears Will Win
- The Bears are averaging 34.33 points over their last six games. Now, put your phone down or step away from the computer for a second. Take a breath. And read that sentence again. Yep, the Chicago f’n Bears are a point-scoring juggernaut since Week 4. Hard to imagine this group not scoring a bunch of points, no matter the opponent.
- Bullies at Home. Bears have played five times at Soldier Field and only lost to Tom Brady’s Patriots. (And even with a one-legged Khalil Mack and two special teams scores, the Bears found themselves a yard from overtime.) Their average margin of victory at home has been 17.75 points, with only the Seahawks finishing within one score after a garbage time touchdown. These are dominant home statistics. And great teams dominate at home.
- Khalil Mack. When a team gives up two first-round selections for a player, as the Bears did for Mack, expectations rise in the big moments. And nothing the star pass rusher has done this season has curbed those expectations. Minnesota is a team that fumbles the football (8 on the season) and Mack’s ability to get the football on the ground is rare. The only player of Mack’s pedigree the Vikings have faced is Aaron Donald – and they had no answers for Donald. Will they have answers for Mack? Are there any answers for Mack?
Why They Won’t
- This is the biggest game Mitch Trubisky has ever played. This is the biggest game Matt Nagy has ever coached. And just about the entirety of the other sideline is seasoned. Chicago’s coach and quarterback may respond brilliantly to the intensity and pressure of the moment but that is a complete uncertainty at this point. The moment won’t get to Mike Zimmer’s Vikings. They’ve played far bigger games.
- Cousins-to-Thielen. Vic Fangio’s defense hasn’t faced a more prolific quarterback-to-receiver combination because there are few existing in the NFL this season. Anyone who has followed this site on Twitter knows I’m not the biggest Cousins fan in the world, but Adam Thielen is a remarkable player and his first-half statistics don’t make sense. 78 catches? Nearly 1,000 yards? He’s got 7 touchdowns already after accumulating 10 over his first four seasons combined.
- Minnesota’s rush defense is top tier. They are right near the top of the league in yards per attempt and yards per game (as are the Bears). But the number that jumps out to me? The longest run they’ve allowed in 2018 in 17 yards. And they’ve already faced Todd Gurley and the Saints’ two-headed monster. If this is finally the game Nagy hopes to establish the run, he’s going to find himself behind the chains an awful lot.
- Cody Parkey. Stinks.
Tomorrow, the game poem!