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Week 15: Packers at Bears Game Preview

| December 13th, 2018

This is the moment. Are you ready?


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears…

…and the champagne is on ice at Josie Woods Pub. There are few occasions that warrant excessive celebration in the basement bar I’ve called home for eighteen years. Beating the Packers to win the NFC North would absolutely be one of them. And I expect the Bears to deliver.


The Game Haiku

They have earned this stage.

And the lights that shine on it.

Glory approaches.


Why the Bears Will Win.

  • Soldier Field. I mean, I wrote an entire piece on this topic a few days ago. Just go ahead and read that. If you don’t want to read it, here are the CliffsNotes™: the Chicago Bears have become a dominant team at home in 2018.
  • Pass Rush. Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 41 times, and hit a lot more than that. He’ll be playing Sunday with about 40% of his starting offensive line. I expect an angry performance from Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks and the rest of the Bears front. They know that if they give Rodgers time in the pocket, he’ll find holes in the secondary. Expect them to hit the Green Bay quarterback and hit him often.
  • Run Run Rudolph! Green Bay is one of the league’s weakest run defenses and the Bears are starting to find their identity on the ground as they make their playoff push. This is not a game Matt Nagy is going to ask Mitch Trubisky to win by throwing it 40+ times. This is game Nagy is going to win by controlling the line of scrimmage and keeping Aaron Rodgers on the sideline. They’ll throw it effectively. But the run game will dominant.

Why They Won’t.

  • Rodgers. The Bears have 25 interceptions. Aaron Rodgers has thrown 1 all season. Something’s gotta give, right? And historically it gives in the Green Bay quarterback’s favor. (See: Fuller, Kyle’s only negative plays of this entire season.) A question that may arise on Sunday is will Rodgers pick on Sherrick McManis, filling in for the injured Bryce Callahan? Don’t be surprised to see a bunch of targets for Randall Cobb from the slot.
  • Trubisky. The quarterback was awful Sunday night against the Rams and that was without much pressure. The Packers can put together a pass rush and one would expect Mike Pettine to dial-up blitzes Trubisky hasn’t seen to try and force hurried decisions. Trubisky’s development is still ongoing, even if the rest of the team is on a different plateau now. He’s going to have bad games. But he can’t stack bad games if this team has serious aspirations for January.
  • Specials. Other than Tarik Cohen on punt returns, I don’t trust a single piece of the “third phase”. Not the punter, even off his best outing in years. Not the coverage units, especially with McManis moving into a starting role on the defense. Certainly not the kicker, who is the team’s most substantial liability down the stretch. The Bears need to do a lot of work here in the offseason. But that won’t help them Sunday.

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ATM: Reason to Distrust the Defense

| December 4th, 2018

The Bears had the Giants in a third-and-23. Even a 20-yard run means New York is punting and the Bears are either going to block it, return it or sit on it and go into halftime with a touchdown lead. Matt Nagy called timeout. It was the kind of aggressive decision we’ve longed for Bears coaches to make.

It didn’t work. Because Nagy learned something we all learned: this defense can’t be trusted.

The vaunted unit folded on the next two plays and then continuously throughout the second half. If it felt like we were watching a re-run it’s because we were. This is the third time the defense — which is supposed to carry the team — absolutely crumbled.

At their best, the Bears defense is legitimately great. But they still might be underachieving. Performances like Sunday (and Miami, and Green Bay) just can’t happen if the Bears are going to be truly relevant this year.

The Bears had a top ten defensive unit last year before adding a top ten draft pick and one of the three best defensive players in the history of the universe. They’ve made a jump, but there are these weird games that are just indefensible and one has to wonder what will happen when the Bears go up against one of the league’s great offenses.

Make no mistake, the Bears can stop the Rams, Saints or Chiefs. They absolutely have the talent to get the job done. But that doesn’t mean they will. And it’s hard to pinpoint what the exact problem is.

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ATM: Maybe the 2018 Chicago Bears are Not “A Year Away”

| November 27th, 2018

The excuses were there and would have been valid.

  • No team had played a game on less rest.
  • They started a backup QB who hadn’t played extensively in five years.
  • They were coming off one of their more emotional wins in recent memory.

But none of that mattered.


I started this season writing about how the Bears looked like the same old Bears and that’s because they did. Blowing a huge fourth quarter lead to the Packers on opening night was very on-brand.

But on Thanksgiving Day, the 2018 Chicago Bears beat the Detroit Lions despite all the excuses. In doing so, they proved they are a different team. Comparing this year’s Bears to versions of the team under Marc Trestman and John Fox is just ridiculous at this point. This was even a game the Lovie Smith Bears would’ve lost.

This team didn’t. They didn’t need excuses. They just went out and won. Somewhere along the line, the team changed. Somewhere they found their swagger and turned 2018 into something with the makings of a special season.

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Monday Night Mettle.

| September 12th, 2018

The Bears had no business losing to the Packers Sunday night. The team knows it. Their fans know it. Hell, even the folks in Green Bay would admit it if you asked them. It required a perfect storm of fine play (Rodgers) and horrible mistakes (Bears). That storm came. And it bloweth the club from Chicago to an 0-1 record to start their 2018 campaign.

Now they must rebound. Mitch Trubisky must rebound from the shaky mess that was his late-game performance. Kyle Fuller must rebound from dropping an interception that would have (a) been the easiest of his career and (b) won the football game. Matt Nagy must rebound from some head-scratching decisions on the sideline. (Those decisions have led to the coach receiving his first dose of criticism in Chicago.)

Next up is a “rebuilding” Seattle at Soldier Field. Followed by a road trip to a bad Arizona team – where half the building will be Chicago transplants – and a home affair with Ryan Fitzmagic. If the Bears finish the first quarter of their season at 2-2 there will be little conversation about the opening night collapse at Lambeau. If they finish the first quarter 3-1, the opener will be little more than an aberration, an isolated storm cloud in an otherwise clear blue sky. For those of you thinking this is a “pie in the sky” approach, you should take note the Bears will likely be favored in all three of these games.

Adversity defines character. And while a team would prefer not facing much of it over the course of their season, it is inevitable. Injuries. Bad penalties. Missed chip shots. Blown leads. These things happen. The Bears blew a game against their oldest rival on the national stage of Sunday Night Football. It sucked. But it’s also presented them with an opportunity to prove their mettle. To show one of the most loyal fan bases in all of sports this is not “the same old Bears”.

That starts Monday night. Against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. The Nagy Bears have an opportunity to change the conversation. But only one thing achieves that goal: winning.

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Four Games To Look Forward to in 2018

| May 10th, 2018

Greetings, Bears fans! Happy to be back!

A lot has happened since I went on hiatus. Some free agency moves have been made, the draft is done, and guess what? I’m officially excited about football again!

Truly, I don’t know how anyone, besides those who thrive on constant negativity (or those aiming to write for the Tribune), could consider this offseason anything short of a huge success for Chicago. The only move Ryan Pace made that I even slightly disagreed with was not matching the Saints offer for Cam Meredith, but honestly letting him walk is small potatoes compared to all the great additions made in 2018.

Of course there’s still the potential for roster moves and shake-ups (and God forbid, serious injuries) between now and the start of the season. Still, we have a much clearer idea of who the Bears are and what they’re going to look like, and damn it if they aren’t looking pretty, pretty good.

I figured I’d put all this unbridled enthusiasm to good use by making my return to DBB to discuss the four games I’m most looking forward to in 2018:

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The 3 Best & Worst Games of John Fox’s Bears Tenure: Part II (Worst)

| December 19th, 2017

Now onto the worst games…

Honestly this was a lot harder to narrow down because the John Fox era has sucked something fierce. There are many, many games that you could make a case for, but after careful consideration I present to you the three worst games under John Fox.

#3. November 13th, 2016

Chicago @ Tampa Bay: Buccaneers 36, Bears 10

You remember that really dominant win against the Vikings I discussed yesterday? How the Bears had a bye week, and therefore plenty of time to get healthy and plan for a Tampa Bay team that was mediocre at best? Yeah, they ended up getting the crap kicked out of them in what was possibly Cutler’s worst performance as a Bear. He turned the ball over four times, including both a pick six and a fumble in the end zone that led to a safety. Jordan Howard also lost a fumble making it five turnovers on the day against a team that had previously struggled at getting takeaways.

The defense didn’t fare much better, allowing Jameis Winston to throw for 312 yards and two touchdowns. Oh and this was also the game that Kyle Long tore up his ankle and was lost for the rest of the season (not to mention a good chunk of this one). A lot of the blame for this loss falls on Cutler, but the Bears had two weeks to prepare a game plan to beat the freaking Buccaneers and maybe turn the second half of their season into something worth watching. Instead they come out and lay a giant goddamn egg, spoiling whatever bit of goodwill they had built up in beating Minnesota two weeks before.


#2. September 28th, 2017

Chicago @ Green Bay: Packers 35, Bears 14

You didn’t really think we were going to get through this without mentioning the Mike Glennon era, did you? While it only lasted four games, it felt like four lifetimes.

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