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FOCO Week 10 Game Preview: Vikings at Bears, Volume I

| November 13th, 2020

It’s gonna be a rough winter across the country, as we find ourselves once again in the throes of Covid-19. So when FOCO reached out to me about partnering, I wanted to find a way to incorporate their stuff into DBB and try and have some fun with these crazy times.

Above is the gaiter scarf. They sent me one. It’s warm as hell and it can serve as a mask. And it ain’t that expensive. (Like $15.) Here’s the link to the product. Christmas is coming, folks, even if we’re not spending the day with our families. (We’ll have a giveaway from FOCO in Monday’s Volume II post.)


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

But this is a unique time. I have reached the point with this offense where I no longer believe they’re capable of first downs. And when they do manage a few first downs, or make a splash play, I just assume the penalties and sideline mistakes that follow will sabotage the progress and keep the offense from scoring points. There can’t be a less fun unit in the NFL, especially considering their talent on the outside.


A Little Look at Minnesota

  • Minnesota is 25th in points allowed, allowing nearly 30 points per game. But ask yourself, does that matter? Is there any scenario in which you can imagine the Chicago offense scoring 30 points?
  • Dalvin Cook has been torturing bad defenses for the last five weeks. Outside of Seattle holding him to 65 yards on 17 carries, Cook’s rushing totals have been 206, 163, 130 and 181. The Bears did the job against Derrick Henry a week ago. The test doesn’t get an easier Monday night.
  • Vikings don’t have a single player on their defense in the top 50 in sacks. This is not a team that threatens the opposing passer. (Neither was Tennessee and one of their DL ended up Defensive Player of the Week in the AFC.)
  • Stefon Diggs is having a remarkable year in Buffalo but the Vikings have a younger, more-talented version of Diggs in Justin Jefferson. He’s averaging 18.4 yards per reception, which is better than DK Metcalf and DJ Moore and probably DL Hughley. (The only player with a higher average is Nelson Agholor in Vegas but he’s got half the number of catches.)
  • Doesn’t this Courtney Cronin headline from ESPN tell the story for the Vikings? “Key to Vikings’ success: Keep ball out of Kirk Cousins’ hands?”

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Week 17: Bears at Vikings Game Preview (With Nothing at Stake)

| December 27th, 2019


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears…

…and we’re only guaranteed 16 of these ballgames a year. The next time the Bears will take the field is nine months away. Might as well enjoy seeing the colors out there.


Three Reasons to Sit Through This Game

  • It won’t mean much to disappointed Bears fans but 8-8 will feel much better to this locker room than 7-9. They can endure this miserable campaign and know they were only a play or two away from being in the tournament ANYWAY.
    • And 4-2 in the NFC North will reaffirm the club’s belief that they are only a few moves away from being back atop the division in 2020. (Of course one of those moves needs to be at the most important position in professional sports.)
  • There are four metrics one can look at to get a good sense of a quarterback’s play: FO’s DVOA (value per play), DYAR (total value), QB rating and total QBR. None are close to perfect but I believe if you take the average ranking of the four you can get a clearer picture. Here is where Mitch Trubisky ranks in all four:
    • DVOA: 26th
    • DYAR: 26th
    • QB Rating: 28th
    • Total QBR: 28th
    • Fan of old school stats? Mitch is 32nd in average yards per completion and 27th in touchdowns. There’s not a single, discernible stat one can look to for optimism regarding Trubisky’s performance this season.
    • Verdict: he’s been better than rookies and backups this year. Nobody else. So why is this a reason to watch? Maybe it’s his last start?
  • Khalil Mack needs a sack and a half to get to double digits on the season. One has to believe he’ll be motivated to get there. And the Vikings offensive line will help. They are bad in protection.

Tweet of the Week

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ATM: North Might Be Tighter, But Bears Are Still Best

| June 4th, 2019

There is little question that at least a couple of other teams in the NFC North are better than they were a year ago, but the Bears were so much better than the field it doesn’t seem likely the gap isn’t still significant. In addition to having four more wins than any other NFC North team last year, the Bears outscored their divisional opponents 153-109. That’s a differential of 44 points, meaning a +7.3 point average in divisional contests.

While the Lions and Packers made significant additions via free agency and, presumably, through the draft, they were so far behind the top two teams. The Lions were outscored by the other three teams 131-118, while the Packers were outscored 162-110. In fact, the Packers needed late field goals to avoid three double-digit losses and were handled by the Lions, twice.

Of course, the 2018 Bears were a great example of going worst-to-first, losing every divisional game in 2017, with most of them not being particularly close. But the Bears spent most of the 2017 season with a rookie quarterback and made more significant roster additions than any of the NFC North teams,

Here’s a quick look at the division.


Minnesota Vikings

Best Addition: Irv Smith Jr. The Vikings have some really good offensive players, but they reminded me of the 2014 Bears, who were basically playing 10-on-11 offensively without a decent second tight end or third receiver. Smith gives them another weapon, who should allow them to play big and run the ball.

Biggest Loss: Sheldon Richardson. Playing on a one-year deal, Richardson was second on the team with 20.5 combined quarterback hits and sacks last year.

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Week 11: Vikings at Bears Game Preview, Volume Three

| November 16th, 2018


Game Prediction

  • Both teams abandon their run games early. These are two of the three best run defenses in the game and neither team has been successful running it themselves. (Chicago’s stats are skewed by Trubisky’s gaudy numbers on the ground, mostly accumulated on broken down plays.) This is a game that will be won through the air and these two passing attacks are pretty evenly matched.
  • Minnesota will do everything possible to keep Kirk Cousins clean and that means the quick passing game. Tackling will be the key for the Bears secondary because if they tackle well it’ll force the Vikings to execute long drives to score points. The longer the drive, the greater turnover potential. And this defense is turning folks over like its the mid-aughts.
  • This game feels like a close one. And close ones often come down to special teams. Right now there’s no way Matt Nagy can send Cody Parkey onto the field and expect a positive result. Will that alter how he calls the game? Doubtful. But it should. The Bears may need to be over-aggressive at big moments to protect their awful kicker.
  • One of these quarterbacks is going to throw a game-deciding interception. And I think it’s going to be Cousins.

Chicago Bears 26

Minnesota Vikings 23

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Week 11: Vikings at Bears Game Preview: Volume One

| November 14th, 2018

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.

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Bears Have Put Themselves in the Fight. Now They Have to Win it.

| November 6th, 2018

By opening the season at 5-3, the Bears have put themselves in the fight. While they couldn’t win the NFC North in the first half of the season, they managed to put themselves in position to win the division or, at the very least, make the playoffs. They are in the fight. Now they have to win it.

At five wins and three losses, the Bears have the same record through eight games they had in 2013, the last time they were relevant in the NFC North race. We all remember how that season ended. The Bears went 0-3 against NFC North foes — including an overtime loss to a five-win Vikings team — in their last eight games. A win in any of them would have won the division. The Bears haven’t been competitive in the NFC North since.

The 2018 Bears have five divisional games in their final eight, including each of the next three. They’re sitting at the top of the division now and need to win at least two of the next three to stay in that race. It’s impossible to say what will happen but there’s no reason to think the Bears can’t stay in this thing until the end.

Because while it wasn’t flashy, we really shouldn’t undersell what the Bears did to the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. Those are bad teams, sure, but outscoring them 65-19 without Khalil Mack or Allen Robinson is, well, interesting.

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Rounding Up the Division Rivals (And Looking Slightly Into Their Futures)

| October 4th, 2018

Four games in the books, which means we’re a quarter of the way through the regular season, and it’s time for the first edition of “Rivals Round Up”. This is a new feature wherein I’ll take a look at how things stand in the NFC North.

And we’ll start at the top.


Chicago Bears, 3-1

Almost a week later, and last week’s win still feels every bit as good as it did on Sunday. (If you’re a Cubs fan like me, the Bears’ early season success might be the only thing getting you through this first week of October.) Chicago leads the division for the first time in years. They’ve won three games in a row for the first time, again, in years. And Mitch Trubisky’s offense took a hugely positive step forward with a dominant performance over Tampa Bay.

Oh, and that Khalil Mack guy? He’s pretty good, too.

Next Opponent: Miami Dolphins.

I don’t love that Chicago’s bye week comes so early this year, and after last week I’m antsy see them play again. But I expect the Bears to stay focused, keep learning, and go into Miami next week without missing a beat.

The Dolphins crashed back down to earth last week after a 3-0 start, getting pummeled by the Patriots 38-7. They play the 3-1 Bengals in Cincinnati this Sunday. Ryan Tannehill is having a nice season and seems to function well in Adam Gase’s system.

However, their offensive line is shaky and I fully expect the Bears to put pressure on him the entire day. On the defensive side, the Dolphin’s secondary will definitely be a step up from what Trubisky faced against Tampa. They’ve managed a league-leading nine interceptions in four games, so Mitch will have to play smart and stay accurate to keep from making costly mistakes.

Game Prediction: It won’t be another Bears blowout, but I think they earn their fourth straight win in Miami: Bears 24, Dolphins 17

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