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Bears Beat Lions, Move to 6-6

| November 29th, 2019

Short post. Thanksgiving hangover. Rapid fire.

  • Forget the stats, yesterday was Mitch Trubisky’s finest game. Made early mistakes. Got physically beat up. Refused to run for easy first downs. But he put the Bears on his back late and won the football game. It doesn’t change his career trajectory. But it’s a day he needed.
  • When Roquan Smith plays that way, he looks like the best linebacker in the league.
  • It would probably go to someone on the defense but Cordarrelle Patterson should get serious consideration for team MVP.
  • Kyle Fuller. Tackle of the year.
  • Nick Kwiatkoski. Most improved on defense. Pay him.
  • Taylor Gabriel should go on IR by Monday. Anthony Miller should never leave the field.
  • Did Jerome Boger’s crew have a block in the back quota to hit? Just let the football happen!

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Week 13: Bears at Lions Game Preview & Prediction

| November 27th, 2019


It’s rather pointless to write these breakdowns every week. The Bears have a terrific defense and an abysmal offense. That’s what they’ve shown for two and a half months. That’s what they’ll show the next month and a half. Nevertheless, here are some thoughts heading into Thanksgiving.

  • Bears defense is 4th in both yards and points allowed per game. Lions are 29th in yards allowed and 25th in points allowed. This is once again a monumental mismatch of defensive units and would lead one to assume, especially with the nightmare that is the Chicago offense, it’s going to a slow, boring, low-scoring game. (But a good opportunity to chat with some family members?)
  • Here is the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett on Jeff Driskel’s performance (Grade: F) against the Redskins Sunday: “Jeff Driskel had his worst start as a Lion on Sunday. He ran for 63 yards on nine carries and kept several drives alive with his feet, but he also threw three interceptions and should have thrown a fourth. Driskel badly underthrew Marvin Jones on a interception with 48 seconds to play that set up Washington’s game-winning field goal and nearly threw a pick-six one play earlier. He did have 207 yards passing and a touchdown, but he didn’t see a wide-open Kenny Golladay on the goal line on third-and-4 when the Lions had to settle for a second-quarter field goal and he missed an open Jones in the end zone on a deep shot in the third quarter.”
    • Driskel is playing, per Chucky P.
  • Can the Bears convince themselves they are still in a playoff fight? No. But it’s unlikely even the Thanksgiving showcase will be enough to motivate this Lions team. (There were even rumors on CBS from Jason LaCanfora – who is unreliable at best – that the Ford family might consider making major changes should the team no show this game with the Bears.) While many of us in Bearsland are bemoaning this disappointing season, Thursday could be one of those truly awful days for a Lions fan base that has experienced their share.
  • Mitch Trubisky’s numbers (under Matt Nagy) vs. Matt Patricia’s Lions defenses: 39-53, 528 yards, 6 TDs and a passer rating around 140. He’s played his best football against this opponent, although both of those performances were at home. (Chase Daniel started at Detroit last year.)
  • One sneaky stat line for the Bears. They are second in average punt return yardage and third in average kickoff return yardage. They’re the best return team in the league. And that might have a massive impact Thursday.

Chicago Bears 23, Detroit Lions 16

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ATM: Respectability Matters for the 2019 Bears

| November 26th, 2019

The playoffs are almost certainly out of the picture, but the Chicago Bears still have a chance to at least make the 2019 season a respectable one.

And while disappointing, respectability matters.

One could argue the only real difference between the 2007 and 2014 Bears is the fact that one was able to remain respectable, no matter how frustrating the losses and how apparently bleak the quarterback situation looked. A year after a Super Bowl berth, the Bears managed to win their final two games – including a 35-7 win over NFC North Champion Green Bay – to finish 7-9. (The 2014 Bears embarrassed themselves on and off the field.)

The difference between those two seasons was just two games, but those two games can define perception and perception can determine if a coach keeps his job. If a GM gets another draft. If a quarterback gets to compete for his job. Those two games matter can be the difference between bad and respectable. The Bears have a chance to make the 2019 season at least respectable.

What shouldn’t be lost in this, of course, is the fact that the Bears don’t have a first round pick, so there really is no benefit to losing games. If they can finish .500 or better, however, they can argue they were at least close. They were a couple of missed field goals, a few bad interceptions or a blown assignment away from actually making the playoffs. And, if they can craft an argument that they were competitive and bordering on being a contender, they can possibly convince players to leave money on the table for a chance to compete for a Super Bowl. We saw that last year with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

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Week Nine: The Game Poem & Prediction

| November 8th, 2019


“Lion”

by J. Hughes

As a child, I was lost at the zoo,

and found myself looking into the sad eyes of an old, lady lion.

I was not afraid of the lion, but of being lost. Of being somewhere unknown.

She seemed to know that fear, the lion.

As if she had once been somewhere she didn’t belong, somewhere she didn’t know.

Her eyes had once been filled with those same tears that now filled mine.

Maybe she was still there.

Maybe that’s why her eyes remained sad.


Prediction

David Montgomery takes the pressure of Mitch Trubisky for a week and the Bears finally get back in the win column. (This is the only way the Bears win. Trubisky isn’t beating anyone.)

Chicago Bears 24, Detroit Lions 18

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Week Ten: Lions at Bears Actual Football Game Preview

| November 7th, 2019


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

And now that the whole of their fan base has seemingly given up on them, you can see them winning.


Three Things About the Lions

  • Detroit allows north of 135 yards per game on the ground, as last year’s mid-season acquisition of Snacks Harrison has turned into a bit of a dud for Matt Patricia and the boys. With the Bears desperate to get back into the win column, I’d be surprised if David Montgomery doesn’t find himself carrying the ball 20+ times Sunday.
  • From my buddy and frequent podcast guest Dave Birkett of the Free-Press:

The Lions, by any metric, have one of the worst defenses in the NFL. They rank 31st in total defense, 30th against the pass, 27th in points allowed and 27th against the run. Their takeaway luck has dried up; on Sunday, they didn’t force a punt for the first three quarters.

I don’t know what the answer is to fixing the Lions’ defensive woes, and I doubt it can be now, with no means to acquire effective talent until the spring. They need more pass rush, they need to tackle better, they need their best safety (or two) back on the field, and they need to play with the urgency they showed early in Sunday’s fourth quarter…Part of me thinks we were duped by their strong defensive play down the stretch last season.

  • The Lions, by just about every statistical analysis, are one of the most dynamic and diverse passing attacks in the league. (Stafford may be having his best season.) With their talent outside and at the TE position, it all comes down to the Bears pass rush this week. If it plays the way it has the last few weeks the Lions are going to move the ball through the air with ease. This is the week Khalil Mack breaks out. (It better be.)

Tweet of the Week

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Rival Roundup: The Bears Are Good, But Must Be Better to Win the NFC North

| October 11th, 2019


We’re just over a quarter of the way through the 2019 season, and the bye week makes it the perfect time to assess where the Bears stand, both as an individual unit and in relation to the rest of the NFC North.

Rivals:

Green Bay Packers

Right now the Packers are the top team in the NFC North. They’re currently 4-1, and 2-0 in the division. Most likely they beat the Lions on Monday and become 3-0, which would be a boon to their playoff hopes. They also have the second easiest remaining schedule in the division.

Both the defense and run game have improved for the Packers, and much of the tension that hung in the air during the end of Mike McCarthy’s tenure seems to have dissipated under LaFleur (despite initial reports that he and Rodgers were clashing). Rodgers isn’t putting up his usual numbers quite yet, but as long as they’re winning, he seems perfectly content with that.

It’s early and a lot can still happen, but it’s quite possible that Week 15 in Green Bay could hold even more significance than usual in the Bears-Packers storied rivalry.

Detroit Lions

The thing about the Lions is, they’re actually kind of good. They’re also still the Lions.

They could very easily be 4-0 right now instead of 2-1-1. They blew a significant fourth quarter lead against the Arizona Cardinals in their season opener that ended in a tie, and they kept pace with Mahomes and the Chiefs right up until the very end of their Week 4 matchup.

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Playoffs Aside, 2018 Regular Season Established Bears as NFC North’s Best Team

| December 31st, 2018


The 2018 Chicago Bears played six games against the NFC North this season. The same number they always play. But these six were different.

Yes, the Bears were 5-1, with a point differential of +44. Yes, they were 3-0 at home, with a point differential of +24. But it was more than the numbers that told the story of these Bears. It was how and when they handled each opponent. Let’s look at them.

  • Green Bay Game I set the tone for the entire season. The Bears left Lambeau on the opening Sunday night knowing they should have won, knowing Kyle Fuller should have caught the game-clinching interception, knowing they were the better team. Matt Nagy didn’t let that game bring his team down. He used it as inspiration. It worked.
  • Detroit Game I was a bloodbath. The 12-point victory didn’t represent how lopsided the ballgame was. But the result was still important because the Bears had been struggling with the Lions for the last several seasons. No longer.
  • Minnesota Game I was the biggest regular season game at Soldier Field in a decade. In primetime the Bears had to prove they were the favorite to win the division. And from a hotel room in Paris, in the middle of the night, I silently watched them do just that.

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