This is such a weird week. Traffic is down because nobody is around. The game will have little-to-no juice unless the Niners make a game of it in Los Angeles. And we’re on the precipice of getting to big boy football. January football. Playoff football. So this is a Friday thought dump.
Mike Zimmer. Badass.
I always like the Chicago Bears…
…but I don’t love ’em this week. One team is home, playing for their postseason life. The other team has eleven wins and is playing for a bye if a ten-point favorite (the Rams) loses at home. Motivation matters. And I don’t think the Bears have much this week.
‘Twas the night before Christmas and Marc Malnati was writing a letter to Jon Gruden pic.twitter.com/2g9hYgxqtr
— Lou Malnati’s Pizza (@LouMalnatis) December 25, 2018
Special thanks to the folks at Lou Malnati’s for liking and following through on this DBB original concept. It’s a great company and a great pizza and I’m hoping to develop this relationship further in the years to come.
It is nice to have such thoughts in December.
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.*
The excuses were there and would have been valid.
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.
Much of the focus for the 2018 Chicago Bears has centered around Mitch Trubisky and the offense, but the key to this season’s success is and has always been the defense.
Sunday night, outside of a couple late touchdowns, the Bears were absolutely dominant defensively. They should be. They have to be.
Despite a new, big money quarterback and a vastly improved offensive line, the Minnesota Vikings don’t have a great offense. They entered Sunday’s game about middle of the pack across the board and in the 20s in terms of yards and points per drive. (Good thing the Bears didn’t hire John DeFilippo.)
The Vikings do have a terrific defense. The Bears weren’t going to be able to put up 30 points. The Bears defense needed to win this game.