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Bears at Lions Thanksgiving Game Preview, Vol. III: Predictions!

| November 24th, 2021


There are only two possible outcomes for this game.

Outcome #1. The Bears win and nobody cares. (Maybe some young players flash and that will be exciting, but honestly, who cares?)

Outcome #2. The Bears lose and it becomes impossible for Matt Nagy to coach the team for the remainder of 2021. (Honestly, I’m not sure Nagy or Pace will still be employed Friday if this is the result Thursday. When I floated the scenario to someone in the building they responded with the simple, “Buckle up.”)

Three predictions:

  • David Montgomery has 24 carries for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns.
  • Robert Quinn adds another 1.5 sacks to his ledger, bringing his total to 11.5 on the season.
  • Matt Nagy avoids a midseason firing with an ugly win in front a national audience. And he will hear about it loudly from the Soldier Field faithful on December 3.

Chicago Bears 20, Detroit Lions 16

 

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Bears at Lions Thanksgiving Game Preview, Vol. II: Game Thoughts, Pearson Recipe & Various Nonsense!

| November 23rd, 2021


Four Thoughts on the Actual Football Game

  • Detroit is the second-worst run defense in the league, allowing north of 140 yards per game. Hard to imagine David Montgomery not dominating behind a terrific run-blocking offensive line.
    • Projection: 24 carries, 147 yards, 2 touchdowns.
  • The Lions have the worst collection of offensive talent in the league. And they are only scoring 1/3 of a point less per game than the Bears. (The Lions are outgaining the Bears, which is a particularly sad notion.)
  • T.J. Hockenson had a bit of a comeback game against Cleveland, with eight targets and six receptions. It won’t take long in Detroit’s tape study to see what Mark Andrews did to the Bears Sunday, and increasing Hockenson’s role from the first meeting. (4/42)
  • Largest stat disparity of the season: Bears have 31 sacks to tie for the league lead. Lions have 15, one clear of the Falcons in the basement.

Rick Pearson’s Jazzed-Up Green Bean Casserole Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (16 ounces each) frozen cut green beans, thawed
  • 2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 4 ounces process cheese (Velveeta), cubed
  • 1 can (2.8 ounces) French-fried onions

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Bears at Lions Thanksgiving Game Preview, Vol. I: Establishing QB Tiers for Christmas Movies

| November 22nd, 2021


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

But I’m not even sure what it is I’m liking this week. If Justin Fields doesn’t play, there is nothing to be gained on Thursday. But it’s Thanksgiving. And it’s football. And we’ll all be watching…I think.


Thoughts on A Quick Turnaround in 2022

Robert Quinn, the team’s MVP in 2021, and Khalil Mack, the team’s best player, are returning in 2022. Roquan Smith is the best ILB in the sport, Jaylon Johnson is a top corner, and the Bears have shown a propensity for finding talent at the interior DL positions. They need corners, but they’ll have off-season assets to acquire them.

While many malign the offensive line, the group is having a decent 2021, especially as a mauling/run-blocking unit. If Teven Jenkins solidifies the left tackle spot, the pass protection should be dramatically improved as well. If you believe Fields will only get better – and I do – the Bears need to concentrate their efforts on adding weapons, weapons, weapon on the outside. Again, the assets are there to do so.

(And for you schedule junkies, the Bears have two road games in the Meadowlands next season, against certainly still-bad Giants and Jets teams.)

But it will all come down to the coaching hire. Terrific quarterback play can cover for bad coaching (Aaron Rodgers won Mike McCarthy a Super Bowl) on the offensive side of the ball, but the Bears currently suffer from a lack of leadership. There is no commitment to the game day plan because there doesn’t seem to be anything resembling a game day plan. They don’t need to hire an offensive mind, or a defensive mind. There are plenty of coaches out there that can call plays. Find the guy who stands in the front of the room and inspires his players to perform at their best.

They find that guy, they win ten games in 2022.


Christmas Movie Quarterbacking Tiers

Every year, from Thanksgiving to Christmas, I gorge on Christmas movies, usually updating my viewing experiences on the Twitter feed. This year, I decided to tier the films, with a little note added when explanation was required, and with a little football flair. This is a solid guide to season for you and your family. In each category, the films are listed in no particular order.

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The Prospects (Thanksgiving)

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Home for the Holidays

Mouse on the Mayflower

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The Elite QBs 

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These are the top shelf Christmas movies, and I’ll be watching most of them at least twice over the next month.

Home Alone

Elf

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Scrooge (Albert Finney)

A Very Murray Christmas

Scrooged

Miracle on 34th Street (original)

The Ref

Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas

Love Actually

The Night Before

Bad Santa

The Year Without Santa Claus (1974)

The Santa Clause

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Klaus

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Our First DBB/Lou’s Malnati’s Winner: Tim Wallace!

| July 24th, 2020

He wrote from the heart. He included a haiku. He was tough to beat. Below is the email that secured Tim Wallace (@LogicforGood on Twitter) some frozen deep dish from Lou Malnati’s.


Hi Jeff,

I’m your target demographic. Huge Bears fan living far away from Chicago. My wife and I moved to Charlottesville, from Chicago, in October 2013 with our almost two-year-old.

A month later, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, I came down with a horrific case of hand foot and mouth disease. Not fun and very contagious. My wife did the smart thing and took our daughter to her parents.  They stayed there until I recovered, which was, of course, after Thanksgiving.

So I had to do my first turkey day away from Chicago alone, quarantining with a nasty, contagious, unpleasant condition.

And I had no idea what I was going to eat. I’ve never cooked a Turkey in my life, and it would have been irresponsible to go to the grocery store anyways.

I will never forget that on the day before Thanksgiving, I walked out on my porch and there was this big square box sitting there. Inside were four Lou Malnati’s pies on dry ice with a note from my Mom, “Happy Thanksgiving!  Here’s a little taste of home.”

Those were the best pizzas I ever ate.

Thanksgiving alone.
Far away from my city.
Lou’s was home sweet home.

Peace,
   Tim Wallace


We’ll have our second Malnati’s giveaway closer to the start of the regular season. And we’ll be formally announcing a new partnership on Monday. Stay tuned!

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Welcome to a Relevant Packer Week

| December 9th, 2019

 

After the ugly, hard-to-watch victory over the putrid New York Giants, Mitch Trubisky and the Chicago Bears started a new season, a new play. It’s gone a little something like this.


Act One: Thanksgiving

After a slow start on both sides of the balls – Kenny Golladay is still wide open – the Bears reinvigorated their fans and their season with a brilliant comeback, all of it on the broad shoulders of their much-maligned quarterback. Still, it was the Lions. Just the Lions. And no one anywhere near this franchise was ready to overreact.


Act Two: Finishing Off the Cowboys

The Cowboys were meant to be a step up in class, a championship contender suffering through a disappointing string of results. (Sound familiar?) But at Soldier Field on Thursday night, the Bears delivered their best performance of the 2019 season and the quarterback reminded everyone of his limitless potential.


Act Three: Packer Week

Now the stage is set for the final act of this in-season play. If Mitch Trubisky and these Bears can deliver another inspired performance and beat their oldest rivals in their building, they will change the narrative of this entire campaign. Yes, not being in the tournament will be a colossal disappointment for a team with such high expectations. But that disappointment will be assuaged by getting the record to .500 or better; assuaged by finishing the season with a winning record in the NFC North; assuaged by the quarterback potentially “finding it” down the stretch.


This was a dreary, boring season. But the last two weeks have been thrilling. Now the Bears have an opportunity to complete this somewhat-redemptive tale, building confidence in the locker room and among the fans. No one will be content with 2019, no matter the result at Lambeau Field. But many will find reason to believe for 2020 should the Bears beat the Packers.

It’s Packer Week.

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An Emotional Return, For Me and the Bears, on Thanksgiving Day

| December 2nd, 2019


Johnny Brogan tends the bar at the Copper Kettle in Woodside, Queens. He’s been behind the sticks for twenty-four years, mixing Bloodies and pouring thick pints of the black. He’s there on Thanksgiving. He’s there on Christmas. He’s there, seemingly always, the front man of my local saloon since moving to the neighborhood a decade ago.

Thursday, the bar was empty when I sat down fifteen minutes before kickoff. Brogie, as he’s known in the community, put an Amstel Light and pint of club soda in front of me. This was going to be a long day of drinking and I had to pace myself. I ordered a bowl of potato leak soup to lay something of a base. No bread. (I’m off bread.)

I approached Bears at Lions the same way I’d approached the last month plus of Bears football: with passionate indifference. The team – and more importantly the quarterback – lost me entirely with their shambolic performance against the New Orleans Saints. And the weeks since have been a slow drain of any emotional juice I might have pumping through my supporter’s veins. This is a rare mode for me to be in, as I’ve always espoused the “we’re only guaranteed 16 of these a year” mentality. But it happens.

Then it stopped happening.

Sometime on Thursday, things changed.

I don’t know why.

I don’t know exactly when.

But sometime during this Thanksgiving game, I found my hands clenched together tightly. The Amstels were going back quicker. The pacing started. The bathroom trips multiplied. Nerves. Anxiety. Even Brogie noticed. “Only seen you like this during the Masters,” he said, referring to my nerves watching Tiger wrap-up number 15 earlier this year.

Maybe it was the kid quarterback, playing with shattered confidence and a bum shoulder, putting his teammates on his back in the second half, delivering several of the best passes of his young career.

Maybe it was Roquan Smith, flying all over the field, reminding us all why he was considered one of the best young defenders in the sport coming into the season. We’ll never fully understand the mental sabbatical Smith took mid-season. But if he plays like that, we won’t remember it either.

Maybe it was seeing promising talents like Anthony Miller and David Montgomery dominate. Finally. And for the first time in 2019, having a sense that this offensive project under Matt Nagy makes some sense. That these fellas can deliver in this offense.

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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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Audibles: Scheduling, Coaching, Movies & Other Stuff.

| February 14th, 2019


Scheduling Notes

Two things have leaked regarding the 2019 Chicago Bears schedule: (1) Packers are rumored to open the season on Thursday night at Soldier Field. (2) Bears will be in Detroit on Thanksgiving Day…again. What do these two reports mean, if anything?

  • That’s 1/8 of the schedule not being played on Sunday. And with the Chiefs, Rams, Saints, Eagles, Giants and Cowboys on the schedule, don’t get used to that Sunday routine. This team is going to be in primetime a lot. And anybody who knows me knows I really, really, really hate it.
  • The league should stop putting games as important as Packers at Bears in Week One. They won’t but they should. What’s becoming obvious is teams are no longer considering the preseason a viable method of preparation and it seems most don’t start playing decent football until midway through October. (The Pats waited until January last season.) I’d like to see the NFL use the first four weeks of the season to play exclusively the non-conference schedule.
  • I know the league’s instincts will be Chiefs at Patriots as the Sunday night opener. But if the league were smart, they’d put the Browns in that spot. Elevate that franchise. Excite a fan base that hasn’t seen a relevant primetime game in years. (And a game as potentially important as Chiefs at Pats should be played on Thanksgiving night.)

Coaching Staff Complete

From Pat Finley in the Sun-Times:

Bears coach Matt Nagy finished up his round of hires Friday, promoting two coaches to finish up the team’s defensive staff.

Sean Desai, a Bears defensive quality control coach for the past six seasons, will serve as the team’s safeties coach. Deshea Townsend, who was hired to coach the Bears’ defensive backs last month, had his title changed to secondary coach. Bill Shuey, who spent last season as a defensive quality control coach, has been named defensive pass analyst/assistant linebackers coach.

I have absolutely nothing to add to these two paragraphs.

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