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Week 13: Bears at Giants Game Preview, Volume I

| November 29th, 2018

Above: my hometown. It’s a shitty town a few miles outside New York City. It was called Soccertown USA after we put three guys on the 1994 World Cup team.


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears…

…and these two teams are headed in opposite directions. The Bears are a team on the rise, a few wins from a division title and their first postseason trip in eight years. The Giants are enduring the final days of a champion quarterback and are probably a few years away from being contenders again. (They’ve also got Norv Turner 2: The Revenge at head coach.)


Game Poem

A Fan of the Bears, in the Shadow of Giants

I grew up in the shadow of the Meadowlands,

My father’s hand-painted Lawrence Taylor poster board displayed in the dining room window for all of Kearny, New Jersey to see.

The white 5 and 6 sat awkwardly on the faded blue paint, like two tourists afraid to speak their native tongue in a foreign cafe.

I could have chosen the Giants. It would have been easy.

I could see their building out my bedroom window.

The window above my elephant toy box, laden with blue and red and green spots for some reason.

The window I’d shout out to my friends from on Saturday mornings.

I could have chosen the Giants and celebrated Super Bowl titles four times.

Could have had Tyree and Norwood wide right and Manningham up the sideline.

But those would just be rings.

Titles.

Brief but wonderful celebrations of athletic success.

I could have chosen the Giants,

And I would have a team.

I chose the Bears.

And got a life.

Got this website, my thirteen-year and counting passion project.

Got Reverend Dave’s bullshit and “Bears Jeff” in the Josie Woods computer.

Got Rick Pearson at the Goat and Adam Jahns out in Edison Park.

Got the Old Town Alehouse and Rossi’s and Pippin’s and the Twin Anchors.

Got Seurat at the Institute and the crust at Pequod’s.

Got the motherfuckin’ Q Brothers, what you got?

I was born and raised in the shadow of Giants Stadium, a big concrete structure in a filthy swamp where Big Blue played their football.

But I found home in the city of the Chicago.

Where the Bears are.

Read More …

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A Look at the QB Situations of the Potentially-Available Head Coaching Gigs

| December 22nd, 2017

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images (Edited)

The question I’ve been asked most since getting to Chicago: “Do you think Trubisky will be a positive when looking for a new coach?” My answer each time has been a definitive yes because I truly believe it will.

But I decided that, instead of leaning on my gut, to poll my two pals in the league on the question, factoring in all of the potentially-available gigs and their quarterback situation. I’ve grouped the teams into categories.

(I’ll be referring to my friends as AFC GUY & NFC GUY.)


Colts

They get their own category because think of the waters GM Chris Ballard has to navigate. When he’s looking to hire a coach in January he may not be able to tell the candidates whether Andrew Luck, their franchise quarterback, will require an additional surgery sidelining him six months or more. He won’t be able to tell the candidates if they have a franchise quarterback in 2018 or not.

NFC GUY: “Chris is going to have to sell that job. And every potential coach will want to know if they’re considering drafting a quarterback early.”


Bucs / Titans

These are two jobs that, should they come open, will come open with a quarterback in-place. But…do you want them?

  • Marcus Mariota has questions to answer regarding his play in 2017. Because he’s been awful. Said AFC GUY: “If he’s not hurt, he’s a problem.”

Read More …

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Wildcard Sunday Open Thread

| January 8th, 2017

Miami +10 over PITTSBURGH

28-13 Steelers late. Matt Moore brings the Dolphins down the field for a solid backdoor cover.

Steelers 28, Dolphins 20

New York +4.5 over GREEN BAY

Three reasons:

  • Green Bay’s win out has been wildly overrated. They are a few weeks removed from blowing a 17 point lead to Matt Barkley. Packers are here because the NFC North was an unmitigated disaster in 2016.
  • Not sure people realize how good this Giants secondary is. There’s not a pass catching threat on the Pack that will give them problems, as long as they don’t allow Rodgers to run around and buy time.
  • It’s the tournament. You’ve seen what Eli does in these games, right?

Giants 17, Packers 13

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Five Thoughts on Another Bears Loss (From Paris, With Love)

| November 21st, 2016

Straight to it…

  • Defense is getting better and will be a force in 2017. But the Bears have SO MANY questions on offense to answer between now and the draft. Who is the quarterback? Where’s the answer at right end? Jeffery? For how much? Are they content at tackle? Big ticket items.
  • Never seen a team deal with injuries like the Bears have over the last calendar year. Whether there is a reason beyond bad luck is beyond me but the team played yesterday on offense in the second half without 3/5 of starting offensive line, both starting wide receivers (one non-injury) and the starting tight end. It’s just not enjoyable to sit through.
  • I wonder if the narrative would have changed again if Cutler pulled that game out at the death. I know I watched him differently yesterday, resigned to a life without 6 taking the snaps. I felt like I was watching a temperamental 85-year old actor do a farewell tour of The Cherry Orchard at Bucks County Playhouse. I am now watching Cutler with a twinge of nostalgia.
  • Bears can’t fire John Fox, despite my previous belief. These guys are playing hard. They just don’t have the heathy horses on offense.
  • Special thanks to The Grand Canadian in Paris. Big screen, hospitable and full of fans truly rooting on their TEAM and not their FANTASY team. Wish I could bring the spirit of that place back with me to the states.

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Match-Up That Matters: Bears at Giants

| November 17th, 2016

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The Giants are a bizarre team. Talented, poorly-coached, temperamental, exciting, boring and just overall perplexing. What’s the match-up that matters?

Entirety of the Bears Defense

vs.

Odell Beckham Jr.

Three thoughts:

  • Beckham is the most spectacular talent at the wide receiver position I’ve ever seen. But he has two supreme flaws. (1) He’s an emotional train wreck. Hit him a few times when he’s not expecting to be hit and he’ll probably start crying. Not metaphorically. He literally cries on the sideline. (2) He drops the ball quite a bit. While it doesn’t get covered by the national media, obsessed with his one-handed show stoppers, he’s less reliable with two hands. This is a game where the Bears need to stick a corner on Beckham early and tell Adrian Amos to separate him at the torso every time he tries to go over the middle of the field.
  • Giants offensive line is better than many believed it would be coming into the season – especially at home – but it’s still not a unit that should stonewall the surging Bears pass rush.
  • Eli Manning has had success getting the ball to Beckham on quick slants and slyly smiling as OBJ takes those three-yard completions for 70-yard touchdowns. As crazy as it sounds, the most important fundamental to beating the Giants is tackling. Tackle well on the outside and NYG will struggle to move the ball consistently down the field.

Stop Beckham, win. Do I expect the Bears to do either? Who cares, I’m in France.

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Money Mouth: Regular Season Finale Picks

| December 31st, 2015

money

Goal was ten over. I’m nine over. And the pressure is on.

Chicago Bears -1 over Detroit Lions

Explanation coming tomorrow but here’s the brief version: I think the Bears REALLY want to go out on a victory. I think the Lions know massive change is coming and won’t want to play in the Soldier Field conditions Sunday.

New York Jets -3 over Buffalo Bills

One team is playing for the postseason. The other team has quit on their coach. Buffalo will probably win – because that’s what the NFL is these days – but I’m going chalk.

New York Giants -3 over Philadelphia Eagles

Tom Coughlin’s finale home game? Yep, I will take him to go out with a win. And I think Odell Beckham Jr. plays a revenge game.

Season Record: 27-18-3

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Money Where My Mouth Is: Three Picks For Week 14

| December 10th, 2015

money

Let’s face it. Last week should have been an 0-3 week but Jim Caldwell conspired to get me on the board. Need a winning week to return that warm and fuzzy feeling to the old wallet. Let’s go.

PITTSBURGH & CINCINNATI OVER 49.5 PTS

Pittsburgh has the most exciting passing in the NFL and – arguably – one of the five worst secondaries. Maybe these teams will shock me and revert to the division’s previous form but I see both teams scoring and scoring at will. Steelers 31, Bengals 30

NEW ENGLAND -3 AT HOUSTON

The Patriots lost two weeks ago, right? They lost last week too, right? When’s the last time they lost three games in a row? I won’t do the research and will just assume Pete Carroll was the coach. Buffalo put together a game plan to neutralize J.J. Watt and exposed the backend of the Texans defense. Expect Tom Brady to put the Pats back into the win column, even if he might be the team’s best receiver. Patriots 27, Texans 14

NEW YORK GIANTS -1.5 AT MIAMI

The Giants stink. They also are going to win the Super Bowl. But in order to do that they must make the postseason. They’ll take the pole position in the NFC East after this week’s done. Giants 20, Dolphins 17

Season Record: 20-17-2

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