Of the 11 players who started on defense in Sunday's 19-13 victory -- which nudged Chicago to 4-3, the lone winning mark in a bad division where the three other competitors have posted an aggregate 6-15 record -- all but one, strong-side linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer, is under contract through at least the '06 season. And Hillenmeyer, a third-year veteran, can be retained just by making him a restricted free-agent qualifying offer next spring. It should be noted that Jerry Azumah -- a starting-caliber cornerback who lost his No. 1 job to Nathan Vasher when injured and is now coming off the bench and playing as a "nickel" defender -- is eligible for unrestricted free agency. Azumah is a solid player, and Chicago management would probably like to keep him around, but technically he's not currently a starter. Seven starters from the Sunday lineup are under contract to the Bears through the 2007 season and a half dozen through 2008.
Looking at their base salaries, it appears most of Chicago's defensive starters have palatable salary-cap charges for upcoming seasons. And there is this element, too: The 11 starters against the Lions on Sunday average only 3.4 seasons of NFL tenure and 24.8 years of age. Just two players, middle linebacker Brian Urlacher and strong safety Mike Brown, have more than five seasons in the league. Only four starters are older than 25 years and none is older than 28.
That is very sweet.
1. Brad Maynard: This guy has been the MVP of the season thus far. He seems to leave the ball around the 10-yard-line every time he punts it away. With an offense that if often incapable of moving the ball, knowing you can rely on Brad to pin the other team deep is invaluable.
2. The D: With all that said, this unit is the heart and soul of the team. There are too many guys to choose just one. Urlacher is making plays all over the field again and proving that whatever asshole called him overrated is just that . . . an asshole. Ian Scott and Tommie Harris are playing great in the middle. Hunter is playing above his ability. Now if the secondary could figure out how to cover people this defense could truly be great. Even so, they're first in the NFL in yards-per-play, third in 3rd down percentage and fourth in yards-per-game. Not too shabby.
3. Thomas Jones: The number six rusher in the NFL has 641 yards on 134 carries. He's been a workhorse who has made people mutter Cedric Who? (Although, I'd like to officially congratulate Benson on his huge overtime run in the game today. That should have earned him his number two spot back and maybe even five or ten carries in the next game.)
4. Randy Moss: Remember all those that said the Vikings would be better without Moss? Daunte's found out the hard way that you can't just throw the ball up in the air and expect Nate Burleson to catch it. Not to mention, it turns out that there may have been a few other 'bad seeds' on the team. With Culpepper's injury today, things look especially bad for the Vikes.
5. Injury Bug: Bit us last year, seems to have gotten a taste for blood up in Packer country this season. Pretty much every good player except for Brett Favre is hurt. But you know what? I don't feel bad at all.
6. Ron Turner: He's made some inspired calls this season. I love his use of Edwards and Dez Clark. If it weren't for some strange calls, especially an abundance of deep throws, he'd be way higher on this list. He sure beats Terry Shea though, doesn't he? Now Ron, just keep running and we'll all be happy.
7. Offensive Line: Without these five Orton wouldn't stand a chance. This could be the most important unit on the team.
8. Kyle Orton: Speaking of . . . He's not spectacular, but we don't need him to be. He's just gotta stay smart and he seems to be doing even better at that. He still throws the ball awfully high and I tense up every time I see him drop back for a deep pass, but still, when's the last time we had one QB line up behind center for seven games in a row?
9. The Lions: Two wins over the number two team in the division helps. A special thanks goes to Jeff Garcia for serving it up to Peanut at the end of today's game.
10. Rusty Jones: Thank you, thank you, thank you. The team's new strength and conditioning coach seems to have done something very right, as evidenced by the team's still existent hamstrings.
By far the coolest and most exciting stat: With a win against the Lions the Chicago Bears could become first team in the NFL with 650 regular-season wins. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s an incredible achievement and a testament to the history and success of this franchise even if they have been shuffling towards this milestone the last couple years.
Bears lead Lions 84-62-5 all time including their first game this season (Sept 18th at Chicago) where the score was Bears 38, Lions 6. (The most points scored in a game by the Bears since their 47-17 victory over the Bucs in 1993.)
In that game former Lions QB Joey Harrington threw 5 interceptions.
Also in that game rookie QB Kyle Orton earned his first NFL win.
Since then Orton has won 2, lost 2, and is yet to throw for more than 150 yards in a game, but he has thrown only one interception in his last three games.
Lions are third in NFL with 18 takeaways.
Bears have allowed just 248.5 yards per game, third in NFL, and 4.1 yards per play, best in NFL.
Bears rank second with 69.2 TD percentage (9-for-13) inside opponent's 20.
Bears are No. 1, holding opponents to one TD in 13 trips inside Chicago 20.
The official rankings have the Bears ranked 28th in overall offense (11th in rushing and 30th in passing) and 3rd in defense (4th in rushing, 9th in passing).
The Bears look even better in the Aikman Efficiency Ratings. Troy AikmanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s formula for ranking offenses and defenses doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t just use yardage in league stats like the official rankings. Instead it involves seven categories, including red-zone and third-down efficiency, turnovers, scoring and yards per play.
Using that system the Bears defense is #1 (Tampa Bay is 2nd, the Lions actually rank 4th)
The AER also improves their offensive standing to 22nd. This is due to the BearsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ redzone successes. The Bears and Chargers are tied for second in the league with 9 touchdowns and 2 field goals in 13 trips inside the 20. (But in the interest of full disclosure it should be noted that only 4 teams have fewer trips inside their opponentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 20-yrd line.)
What week is this? It's like week 8 or something. Yeah, week 8. Cool. I missed a week with the picks due to a trip to the Emerald Isle, sponsored by beer and pork. I'm 43-43-1 on the season. The hump has fought back.
CAROLINA -7.5 OVER MINNESOTA
If you really believe the Vikings turned it around, you didn't watch the last three minutes of that game against the Packers. They won despite their head coach's horrible time management work. I think they lose here and lose convincingly.
CINCINNATI -9 OVER GREEN BAY
I never through I'd feel bad for Brett Favre. And I don't. Seeing that looking on his face as The Dinger booted a 56 to win for the Vikes was just about the best damn thing image in sports this year. As a matter of fact, I'm going to go and make it my background screen.
ARIZONA +9 OVER DALLAS
There is a football equivalent of Pandora's Box...it's called The Real Drew Bledsoe. He debuted for the Cowboys on Sunday and don't be surprised if he throws two interceptions this weekend to keep the Cowboys from making this an easy win.
DENVER -3.5 OVER PHILADELPHIA
Here's my ace top gun analysis. The Eagles don't run the ball. They throw a lot of screen passes. The Broncos have the fastest group of linebackers in the NFL. Champ on T.O. The Broncos run on everyone.
CHICAGO +3 OVER DETROIT
I think the Bears defensive players realize this is a great chance to shut a team down and statistically lead in every category. I'd like to seem them do it very much.
HOUSTON -2 OVER CLEVELAND
I'm 3-0 on betting the Vegas Crazy. I'm looking for 4-0 here.
ST. LOUIS +3 OVER JACKSONVILLE
I don't know why.
BUFFALO +9 OVER NEW ENGLAND
This division rivalry games are always close and I think Mularkey feels the heat and puts this game in Willis McGahee's hands.
MIAMI +2.5 OVER NEW ORLEANS
Nick Saban over Aaron Brooks every single day of the damn week. And Nicky has to love coaching at LSU again.
NEW YORK GIANTS -2.5 OVER WASHINGTON
God, this should be a terrific game and I'm going to watch it (if the Bears beat the Lions. If they don't, I'll be dead drunk.) I think Eli is coming...he's coming.
OAKLAND -1.5 OVER TENNESSEE
Ridiculous statement of the week: I'd take Oakland -10.5
SAN DIEGO -6 OVER KANSAS CITY
How pissed is L.T. this week? Watch this game and you'll find out.
TAMPA BAY -11 OVER SAN FRANCISCO
I want to pick San Fran but how can you? They don't have anything good on their team.
PITTSBURGH -10 OVER BALTIMORE
No Ray Lewis or Ed Reed and I just watched Thomas Jones and the Bears plow this defense. The Pitt o-line is the most talented and best coached in the game. This will get ugly...fast.
Bears are now the number 2 scoring defense in the league
Bears have allowed 68 this season (11.3 per game) The Colts who currently are number 1 (and who gave up 20 pts to Houston yesterday) are only ahead by 0.3, allowing 11 ppg.
The Bears D, previously ranked number 4 in run defense, allowed Baltimore 66 yards on 22 carries, which should improve that ranking.
Since their collapse against the Browns they have not given up a touchdown.
The Bears are the only team in the league who have not to have allowed a rushing touchdown this season.
And they have only allowed one touchdown in 13 trips by opponents into their red zone.
Baltimore was held to 199 yards including only 52 in the second half.
Jamal Lewis: 34 yards on 15 rushes. Just 1 rush was for more than 3 yards.
Ravens entered Bears' territory on only three drives.
Anthony Wright was sacked four times
Tank Johnson: 2 sacks in the fourth quarter. (He had only a half sack all last season)
Six defensive lineman have at least a partial sack this season.
139 yards on 25 carries, an average of 5.6 with a longest run of 42 yrds.
That 42-yarder contributed to his 84 yrds on 12 carries in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
Currently averages 4.8 yards per carry -- the most for a Bears top rusher since Payton averaged 4.8 in 1985.
Benson: 2 carries for 6 yards
Orton was 15-of-29 for 145 yards and no interceptions -- a 77.5 passer rating.
EdwardsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ td catch, his second of the season (The fifth time in his 9 years that he has had 2 in a season) puts him in a tie for the lead in touchdown catches with Des Clark. So a fullback and a tight end lead the Bears in TD receptions.
Bears first 3 possessions were 2 three-and-outs and a 4-and-out. Jones had only one carry for two yards. The drive when they scored Jones had 46 yards on 5 carries.
The Bears did not have to convert a third down during their scoring drive (due mainly to Baltimore penalties)
Bears had four first downs by penalty, Ravens had none.
The first half featured 9 punts and 7 three-and-outs
Maynard: 7 punts (including 2 inside the 10) with and average of 37.4 and 35.9 net.
The Bears haven't been .500 this late in the season since 2001, coincidentally the last time they made the playoffs.
The following are my thoughts on the NFL from Sunday. And by the "NFL" I mean the "Chicago Bears."
1. The Bears defense has allowed 68 points in six games. They're the only NFL defense to not allow a rushing touchdown and in the redzone they have been flat-out brilliant.
2. Tank Johnson might have had the numbers, but anyone watching that game yesterday saw that Tommie Harris was just as dominant up front. With Ian Scott and Fonsy Booner, the DT position is set for a decade.
3. Alex Brown is terrific against the run, but if he could give us SOMETHING of a pass rush, this defense will become to the best in the NFL. In case you haven't noticed, all of these big pass plays are happening on his side for a reason.
4. How's that Booker for Wale trade looking now? Ogunleye is a beast.
5. You know how you know that Kyle Orton is becoming a pretty good quarterback? Until yesterday, his eyes went Mushin-Mushin-Mushin-out of bounds. Sunday he looked Mushin-Bradley-Des Clark-out of bounds. God, that's exciting.
6. Desmond Clark, 'atta boy.
7. Thomas Jones, I don't know where to start. He's in the top five rushers in the NFL and he trails only Shaun Alexander in the NFC. The first half Sunday was won on Brad Maynard's foot and the second half won on Thomas Jones' back.
8. A big worry I'm having with this Bears team is Robbie Gould kicking the ball through the uprights. We're going to need a kicker that can boot the 40-49 if we're going to win some tough football games against teams like Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Carolina...etc. If I'm Jerry Angelo, I'm patrolling the kicker free agents for next season.
9. If I'm Ron Turner this week, I'm trying to find ways to get Mark Bradley open in space. This guy is lightning quick.
10. Every time Ron has called the fullback in the left flat or the tight end in the right flat, it's been open. The guy just has a terrific feel for a football game. (But run even more, dude, just keep running.)
11. Hey Sporting News, is Brian Urlacher still the most overrated player in football? The man is the best linebacker in the conference right now and might just be playing the best defensive football - period.
12. Last year it was Ian Scott but this year...my boy is Hunter Hillenmeyer. I was adamant about the Bears getting a new strong-side linebacker but Hunter has been filling holes and really doing some good things.
13. Thank God Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez aren't on the Bears schedule this year because they would lose by 100. I think Todd Heap just made his 400th catch.
14. BELIEVE ME I'M NOT COMPLAINING ABOUT ALLOWING SIX POINTS BUT I'd like to see the Bears get a little more aggressive on third downs. They're too eager to drop back and I think keeping this team from getting turnovers. Interceptions come off pressure and pressure comes from attacking when you know a team's going to throw.
15. Be honest. If you were offered 3-3 after six the moment Grossman went down, you'd have spit whatever you were drinking and yelled YES!
16. How good would this team have been with Rex? My guess: 5-1.
17. Regular season games don't get bigger than Sunday in Detroit.
18. Anybody else feel the way I feel about this game: eager. Usually I'd be nervous but I just want to see that defense get right back out there and play their best.
19. John Tait, Roberto Garza, Ruben Brown, Olin Kreutz, Terrence Metcalf, Fred Miller. Love ya.
The Bears defense has stopped opponents in 11 of 12 trips inside the red zone this season.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“On nine consecutive possessions Sunday, the Vikings had 3, 3, 7, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3 and 4 plays. They gained a net 45 yards.Ã¢â‚¬? Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Chicago Tribune (they added the editorial, "The Bears defense is not that good.")
Brian Urlacher now has six sacks for the season which matches the second-highest total of his career (2001) His personal high is eight which came in 2000, his rookie year. In the last three years he has combined for a total of 12-1/2. It was the sixth multisack game of Urlacher's career.
TillmanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s interception return to the VikingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s three-yard line was a career-long 55-yards.
Kyle Orton: 16-of-25 for 117 yards, two TDs and one interception, 84.9 passer rating
Thomas Jones: 23 carries for 89 yards, 1 catch for 6 yards, two TDs.
Cedric Benson: 3 carries for 2 yards (thanks to a generous spot) and one completely blown blocking assignment that led to Lance Johnson sacking Orton and forcing a fumble (play was nullified by a penalty).
Adrian Peterson: 7 yards on 1 catch.
Edinger was not invited to the Love Boat.
Reason why: A 23 yard field goal, a 52-yard attempt wide right, a 32-yarder blocked by Alfonso Boone, and another 32-yarder where holder Brad Johnson initially had problems getting the ball set up but if Edinger hadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t just quit on the play and stood there the kick couldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been attempted, the ball was up by the time he corkscrewed around to it.
That was Alfonso BooneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s second blocked field goal of the season.
With the disasters of the past couple games and the lethargy that accompanies a bye week it has been tough to express my despair at the situation the Bears currently find themselves in. A situation that only threatens to get worse with the rash of injuries that seem to threaten every good player we have with the exception of urlacher, brown and maynard.
The Reverend has a reputation for being cynical and negative so perhaps I am once again overreacting however I would like to post the RevDad's opinion of this Sunday's game against the Vikings to show that if I am cynical, I at least come by it honestly.
For reference this is his succinct assesment of the Bears two days prior to the season opener: "both offense and defense seriously improved, schedule nicely frontloaded, and every qb on the staff this year is better than every qb on the staff last year. no way they go 5-11 this year. but orton no roethlisberger, either. 8-8 or 9-7."
Without further preamble: RevDad on Bears/Vikings
prediction 1: at kickoff, I will be in the last throes of not catching trout at beaver dam. (the weekend over/under is 6 fish.) (Revnote: The fact he will not be worried about missing any part of this game is indictative of how much he has given up on this team)
prediction 2: the real drama in this weekend's game will be whether kyle orton keeps from getting killled. the left side of his line is st. clair, playing left tackle for only the fourth time in his career, and garza, who demonstrated in outstanding fashion on his first two plays last week why he's a career backup. and the backfield blocker apparently won't be thomas jones, who understands how to read blitzes, but cedric benson, who doesn't -- and who, so far, has shown no reason for defenses to be afraid of his running, either.
prediction 3: notwithstanding no. 2 above, the vikings are in complete turmoil this week, thanks to mike tice's mindboggling lack of discipline and leadership, not to mention maritime oversight. that gives bears hope.
prediction 4: but probably false hope. notwithstanding no.3 above, the vikings are still better than they've shown so far, and I bet dante culpepper was not part of the love boat cruise. (Revnote: reports currently say he was) he will have something to prove. ditto paul edinger.
therefore, prediction 5: vikings, 23-6. the new bears kicker gets two field goals, but edinger hits three; jeff blake starts the second half (hub says he should start the game, in fact -- says bears can't run an nfl-style game plan with orton, and blake gives them the only chance to win); and peanut tillman/chris harris look like dopes again, at least twice.
To that bleak assesment I have to add a couple points:
1. They pull Mike Green because he made so many mistakes in game 1. He made two, one blown coverage and the pass interference that negated Vasher's interception. Yet this week they say that Harris making a few mistakes is no reason to pull him. YES IT IS. You have a strong reliable proven veteran who has been a stalwart on this team for several years just sitting on the sideline cause he made a couple mistakes in the first game of the season while Chris "How do you play a cover-2" Harris lets up game winning touchdown scores in the final minutes. Its a travesty, its a crime and it leads to point number 2.
2. The coaching is to blame for where the Bears find ourselves. Several of the interceptions against the Bengals were bad play calls, then the coaches got more scared than Orton and the shackles never came off against the Browns. Then there is the genius decision to take out the red hot TJ after he rips Cleveland in half with multiple 15+ yard runs and put in Benson. The game was not anywhere near being put away why bench your most potent weapon for a guy with less single digit touches in his rookie season, who an hour and a half earlier couldnt gain 2 yards in two tries? Stupid stupid stupid.
3. Mike Brown gets huge credit for admitting they stink, but Lovie shouldve been the one to pull an Ozzie and he should have done it to light a fire under them. Lovie's zen coaching style is all well and good but there is a time for assuming the lotus position and a time to throw a chair at your players (specifically Tillman. Yes you intercepted Randy Moss in the endzone and won the game. yes we were all very proud of you. guess what? you are one more touchdown away from being that guy that everyone hates who currently sells real estate and after drinking never shuts up about his high school glory days on the gridiron. seriously. play some damn defense.)
4. I dont want Blake to play. Orton hasnt been great, and he sucked against the Bengals but he hasnt been awful. Week 1 he was alright, made some costly rookie mistakes but your first NFL game is a freebie. Week 2 he didnt have to do much but he did everything well (qb rating of over 100. havent seen that in a while from a bears qb) Week 3, a disaster, obviously but that happens and wasnt entirely his fault. Week 5: boring, uninspired and not game threatening but he wasnt allowed to go verticle and for the most part he was controlled and competant, the peterson fumble notwithstanding.
Blake hasnt shown any flashes of brilliance and hasnt gotten many first team snaps so there is no reason to risk the serious potential damage to orton's confidence by benching him. Ride it out. Hes light years about Hutch and Quinn and Krenzel so dont rock the boat. Specially because it takes us closer to putting in Kittner. Bench Orton only if we suddenly sign Jeff George.
5. And final point. Minnesota sucks but still our much better than theyve appeared thus far. This game could go one of two ways. We dominate them like we did against the Lions and Bears fans once again see the playoff mirage for a week or two; OR they tear us apart and we officially give up on the season and go on to win a just few meaningless games near the end so as to try to fool us into thinking we might be alright in '06 and eliminate us from any hope of grabbing Lineart in the draft.
This post was long but so is the Bears' history of failure the last few seasons.
This week is really the Bears' last chance to recover the season. Hopefully Monday I will be joyfully buying into the playoff mirage.
Broke even with the picks last week. 38-25-1 and here I come.
ATLANTA -4.5 OVER NEW ORLEANS
First of all, how is this line only 4 and half points? The New Orleans Saints were leading last week 3-0 and then they went the give up 52 unanswered-points-to-a-team-marked-for-dead way. Mike Vick is pissed off and he's going to play and play well. If he doesn't, I don't care. And I don't care about the goddamn hurricane with this team anymore. They suck. They've sucked for five years. And they're impossible to root for.
CLEVELAND +5.5 OVER BALTIMORE
The Browns had no business beating the Bears this week and they'll have no business beating the Ravens next week. But they'll hang around and be right there for Dilfer to give the old FUCK YOU to his old team.
NEW YORK JETS +3 OVER BUFFALO
I like the home team to win here but I think this game is going to be incredibly low scoring.
CHICAGO -3 OVER MINNESOTA
When Vegas sets lines like this, I just take them. How we're favored by 3 to beat the Kearny Generals is beyond me.
CINCINNATI -3 OVER TENNESSEE
This is a huge, huge, huge game for the Bengals. Watching young teams bounce back from losses is a good way to tell how they're season will go. I think they'll be just fine and I now fully expect them to be in the playoffs.
NEW YORK GIANTS +3.5 OVER DALLAS
I don't know if I can like two teams less. I'll take the points.
NEW ENGLAND +3 OVER DENVER
Bellichick. Shanahan. Fuck you, Vegas, fuck you.
CAROLINA +1 OVER DETROIT
I hate the Lions.
KANSAS CITY -6 OVER WASHINGTON
I don't know why...but I think the wheels are going to come off this gay wagon real soon.
SAN DIEGO -2 OVER OAKLAND
San Diego...SUPER CHARGERS!
HOUSTON + 9.5 OVER SEATTLE
How bad is it in Houston? It must be a hundred years since the Seahawks have been favored by almost double digits.
MIAMI + 4.5 OVER TAMPA BAY
Home team wins by 3.
ST. LOUIS +13.5 OVER INDIANAPOLIS
Ah, it's a lot of points and without Mike Martz on the sideline, I'll bet the Rams.
I'm off to the Emerald Isle. I'll be calling some of the readers of this site on Sunday evening. Go Bears.
Hey there, NFL, how are ya?
I wonder what the odds were on the Bears, Redskins, Bengals and Dolphins being in first place after a quarter of the season?
Charles Rogers was a great receiver at Michigan State but his pro career is quickly becoming a disaster.
Can you believe that McNabb/Owens was such a news story for SIX MONTHS??? They've become the most dangerous combination in football...and it ain't close.
The only lesson I learned from the Tampa Bay win over Detroit was that the Bucs will not win a championship with Brian Griese back there. It's just not going to happen.
I watched all three coach this week and Mike Tice, Mike Martz and Mike Sherman all need to be fired immediately. Martz is ridiculous, Sherman is a terrible play-caller and Tice is completely and utterly incompetent.
Josh McCown was the most enjoyable player to watch on a football field this weekend. If Denny Green goes back to Kurt Warner, it just proves my never-changing point that he's not that great a football coach.
HERE'S WHY THE BEARS WILL WIN THE DIVISION ALERT: I'll stick with the team with the best defense, best offensive line and best running game every day of the week.
Brett Favre was brilliant Monday night. Absolutely brilliant.
I'm not ready to bury the Patriots yet but they were absolutely housed by the Chargers. The AFC has been the most disappointing division in football and they can still win it but it gets to a point where you can't plug any player in and still win football games.
Baltimore, relax. You barely beat Brooks Bollinger.
I didn't think going to J.P. Losman was a good idea for a Bills teams ready to compete now but don't bench him for Kelly Holcomb. This team is going to just tread mud the rest of the year.
THE UTTERLY FANTASTIC PICKS FOR WEEK 5:
8-6 last week. 31-28-1 on the season. What hump?
NEW ENGLAND +3 OVER ATLANTA
I'm going to err on the side of the champs. But this might be the last time.
MIAMI +2.5 OVER BUFFALO
I like Nick Saban's defense with a week to prepare for the non-existent Bills passing game.
CAROLINA -3 OVER ARIZONA
This is just a must-win for the Panthers if they want to avoid having to pull a 7 of their last 8 to make the playoffs.
CHICAGO +3 OVER CLEVELAND
This game is going to low-scoring and very, very close.
WASHINGTON +7 OVER DENVER
Denver's playing well but I'm thinking this might a bit too high a line.
BALTIMORE +1.5 OVER DETROIT
I'm really starting to wonder if the Detroit Lions can keep their heads up. Every day it's something new with this team. And I just can't bet Mr. Harrington over the Baltimore defense.
GREEN BAY -3 OVER NEW ORLEANS
I'm rooting the other way, but I think Favre can't help but shred this defense.
TENNESSEE +3 OVER HOUSTON
The Texans aren't allowed to be favorites. And the Titans always play them very well.
INDIANAPOLIS -14 OVER SAN FRANCISCO
Peyton doesn't play the fourth quarter.
JACKSONVILLE -2.5 OVER CINCINNATI
I think these two teams are going to be the Wildcards in the AFC. I just don't know what's going to happen but I'll watch.
PHILADELPHIA -3.5 OVER DALLAS
I think the Eagles might be the best team in the NFL right now.
ST. LOUIS -3 OVER SEATTLE
Is there two teams I want to think less about? They both need new programs installed soon. They'll be mired at 7-9 for a decade with these two guys.
TAMPA BAY -3.5 OVER NEW YORK JETS
I didn't pick the Jets to go to the AFC Championship game, did I?
SAN DIEGO -3 OVER PITTSBURGH
This could be a letdown week for the Chargers but I was just too impressed last week not to stay with them.
Since the Bears were off this week and I watched very little football yesterday, I'll keep this short and sweet.
0 - Packers wins this season. (Yeah, I know they play tonight.)
1 - Place the Bears hold atop the NFC North.