The most important games of the week for the Chicago Bears will be played tonight (Bears v Rams) and tomorrow night (Vikings v Seahawks). But there’s still much to keep an eye on before we hit the primetime slate.
Who should the Bears fan root for?
Another Panthers loss would basically clear them from the wildcard fray.
There’s an argument to be made for rooting against Dallas. But that’s a seeding argument. Seeding schmeeding. Fans should just want the Bears playing in January.
This is the least important because Mark Sanchez ain’t making a run.
It’s been a long time. A long, long time. In 2013 the Bears had a chance to make the playoffs over the final month but they were 6-6 at this stage and a definitive mediocrity. Per Football Outsiders, the Bears have an 85.1% chance to win the NFC North and a 96.3% chance of making the postseason. This is the kind of piece I’ve wanted to write for a long, long, long time.
Bears (8-4) are home to the Rams and Packers, followed by at Niners and Vikings.
Vikings (6-5-1) are at Seahawks, home to the Dolphins, at Lions, home to the Bears.
*Note: If the Bears are competing for a wildcard spot, one must assume the Vikings have won the NFC North. So we can leave them out of this equation.*
There are 11 playoff games. My best record against the spread was 7-4 in 2014. This year I will take that record to the woodshed.
Saturday – 3:20 pm CT
Pick: Chiefs -9.
For some reason I’ve been watching a bunch of Titans games lately, mostly to look at Mariota, and something is very clear: the Titans are terrible. Kansas City was 6-2 at home this season and are quietly coming into the postseason on a four-game winning streak. (The Matt Nagy bump?) This profiles as the weekend’s only blowout. Lay the points! 37-16 Chiefs.
Saturday – 7:15 pm CT
Pick: Atlanta +6.5.
I don’t know why I think this but I think there’s a big effort somewhere in this Falcons team. I’m not sure they can win this game on the road because they don’t have a consistent bone in their collective bodies but I still need Jared Goff to win a playoff game before I can get fully on the Ramwagon. 27-21 Rams.
Sunday – 12:05 pm CT
Pick: Bills +9.
I’m just banking on this game being unwatchably low-scoring. 16-9 Jags.
Sunday – 3:40 pm CT
Pick: Saints -7.
These teams played twice this season. Saints won both. Total score: 65-34. If this game were in Carolina I think a Panthers upset would be in-play but I’m having a hard time seeing it in the dome. I’ll be rooting for Chico and the boys but that egg they laid in Week 17 against the Falcons is tough to shake from my mind. 30-17 Saints.
Here’s how Roger Ebert opened his review of Joe Versus the Volcano, the brilliantly odd 1990 film from John Shanley:
Gradually during the opening scenes of “Joe Versus the Volcano,” my heart began to quicken, until finally I realized a wondrous thing: I had not seen this movie before. Most movies, I have seen before. Most movies, you have seen before. Most movies are constructed out of bits and pieces of other movies, like little engines built from cinematic Erector sets. But not “Joe Versus the Volcano.”
I have never seen a football game like Sunday’s Bears/Panthers tilt. Never. Think about what took place.
You could live to be a thousand years old and never see a game like this again. The iconic “They Are Who We Thought They Were” game from 2006 was not this lopsided statistically. Oddly enough, Trubisky’s four completions were matched that night by Rex Grossman’s four interceptions.
Sunday’s win over the Carolina Panthers was defined by one moment, one play. After Trubisky’s lunge for the end zone was deemed short, John Fox faced fourth-and-a-foot with about a minute remaining in the first half. If the Bears went and scored, they’d lead 21-3 and receive the ball to start the second half. If they went and failed, chances are the Panthers would have run the ball three times, forcing Chicago to burn their timeouts, but still giving the ball back to the Bears with enough time to score.
There was almost no reason NOT to go. John Fox did NOT hesitate. Field goal. 17-3.
On this week’s episode: