[Disclaimer: The following game preview is being written under the assumption that Khalil Mack will play Sunday. It is also being written under the assumption that he’ll be limited, to a degree, by his ankle injury.]
Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?
I always like the Chicago Bears…
…and I just like this game, hence yesterday’s flamboyant column. This should be the most intense, feverish crowd at Soldier Field in five plus years. And don’t be surprised if the Bears come out and match that intensity, eager to prove last week’s rollover in Miami was a fluke.
The Game Limerick
There once was a goody named Brady
Whose fitness guru seemed a bit shady
The coach tossed him out
Now Goody got gout
But at least he still has a rich lady
Why the Bears Will Win
- Patriots on the Road. New England is 4-0 at home and 0-2 on the road but it’s how they’ve looked on the road that’s been jarring. They didn’t just lose to Jacksonville and Detroit. They lost by a combined score of 57-30 to mediocre teams. The Bears have a better defense than the Jaguars and currently a better offense than the Lions. (Note: These games were pre-Julian Edelman’s return and Josh Gordon’s arrival.)
- The Andy Reid Coaching Tree. Matt Nagy isn’t going to require much research when building his game plan to attack the Pats defense. Look no further than the success Andy Reid had versus New England Sunday night. Okay, fine, look further. Doug Pederson put up more than 500 yards of offense on Bill Belichick & Co. in the Super Bowl with Nick Foles under center. (I still contend Pederson’s success with Foles is one of the most impressive playoff runs in league history. Foles is terrible.) The blueprint is drawn. And Nagy is very close to the men who drew it.
- Taylor Gabriel is becoming a star in this offense and he’s going to be wide open 2-3 times against this Pats secondary because, quite frankly, Gabriel has been wide open for more than a month. But there are soft areas in New England’s deep zone and teams have had an easy time exploiting them. Trubisky HAS TO hit those throws Sunday.
Why They Won’t
- Belichick. He’s the best coach in the history of the NFL and has made a career out of confusing young quarterbacks into bad decisions. Trubisky will see 3-5 looks he’s never seen previously. Stat: quarterbacks under 25 years old are a career 1-42 at Foxboro. (Yes, I know this game is not there but that stat is absurd.) Here’s what Mike Lombardi said about it: “He makes them play left-handed…He takes away what they do and they don’t have the experience to go and do other things.”
- Tom Brady. He’s Tom Brady.
- Edelman. Maybe this is the Sunday hangover talking, but it’s inconceivable that Josh McDaniels won’t throw 5-7 bubble screens against this defense and see if their performance in Miami was an anomaly or a trend. One would think those throws would would go to Edelman, the most elusive of NE’s receiving targets.
Tweet of the Week
Brian Baldinger is the best NFL follow on Twitter. He makes fans smarter each and every week with his Baldy Breakdowns. And I was pretty excited to hear him gushing over Trubisky’s second-half performance Sunday.
.@ChicagoBears @Mtrubisky10 making the kind of “sophomore “ jump that most teams only dream about. The talent that they have brought in is all paying dividends . It’s only 6 games but it sure feels like #Bears are doing things right even after a painful loss. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/PT1zoGENk7
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) October 16, 2018
Don’t Gamble, But if You Do… (2-3)
Legalized gambling has been a massive boon to my bank account but the Bears (and Bears-related bets) have been little help. Here’s the game breakdown from FanDuel Sportsbook:
With the way points are being scored in this league, and with both of these offenses surging, the 49.5 number seems ripe. So I’m dropping $100 on these two teams getting to fifty points and hoping I’m back to even money on the season next week.
Song of the Week
Paul Simon’s new album In the Blue Light is a masterpiece. He’s rearranged/re-imagined some of his deeper cuts as a mix of New Orleans street music, smoky late night jazz club riffs and straight-up standards. It’s the first album I’ve bought in a decade. And I’ve listened to it straight through three times this week.
Here’s the songwriting legend on Saturday Night Live.
Charity of the Week
A good mantra to live by: instead of complaining about what’s happening in the world, make someone’s life better. One Chicago-based organization dedicated to just that is BUILD. From their website:
BUILD (Broader Urban Involvement & Leadership Development) is one of Chicago’s leading gang intervention, violence prevention, and youth development organizations.Our mission is to engage at-risk youth in schools and on the streets to help them realize their potential and contribute to our communities. We focus on hard-to-serve youth in some of Chicago’s most challenging neighborhoods.
Since 1969, BUILD has helped thousands of young people transform their lives, and today reaches over 3500 youth a year with caring adult mentors and a rich variety of experiences in the arts, athletics, college & career preparation, entrepreneurship, leadership development, and technology. Our model blends the best practices of restorative justice, conflict mediation, prevention, development, and behavioral health, and is designated an evidence-based Effective Program by the US Dept. of Justice.
You can donate to this cause by CLICKING HERE.
It is impossible to predict how Nagy and Trubisky will respond on this stage. But this section of the preview has the word “prediction” in it so I’ll try. I think the Bears offense is going to shine Sunday. And I don’t think it matters who is defending Brady with these weapons. He’s going to score points. Bears just score more.
Chicago Bears 31
New England Patriots 27