The Stakes of Thursday Night

| November 16th, 2010

The Philadelphia Eagles, and most specifically Michael Vick, put the NFC on notice last night in Washington.  Delivering the finest performance the conference has seen this season, Andy Reid’s team looked dominant on offense and advantageous on defense – doing to the Redskins what Jay Cutler and the Bears could not do three weeks ago.  They dominated an inferior opponent.  I’ve been as critical of Andy Reid as anybody but his teams continue to make the postseason by doing what they did last evening.  (Next Sunday – now in the prime 4 PM time slot, the Bears will get their crack at the Eagles).

Thursday night the Dolphins will most likely be without their starting quarterback.  Their backup quarterback suffered a career-ending type shoulder injury on the third play this Sunday.  That leaves them starting the able yet flaccid Tyler Thigpen.  And you know what they say about Tyler Thigpen?  If Tyler Thigpen beats you, you deserve to lose.  (The Dolphins are also supposed to be without Jake Long but I’ll believe that when I see it.  Jake Long is one of the toughest guys in the sport.)
We all know the Bears, during the Lovie Smith era, have not been great on short weeks.  We also know how bad Jay Cutler has been once the sun goes down – explanations ranging from color blindness to diabetic comas.  But this season has been a different kind of Bears season.  When they are expected to win, they lose.  When they are expected to lose, they dominate their opponent.  And now they have put themselves into position to make a run at the postseason.  The dreaming of August has become the reality of mid-November. 
The Bears also must win Thursday night to put pressure on the Green Bay Packers Sunday.  The Pack will be in Minneapolis to face Last Chance Brett and the cast of As the World Turns and if you don’t think the purple will reach into the barrel for this one, you’re crazy.  We’re at that part of the season where scoreboard watching becomes as much fun as game watching and nothing will make me happier than being able to sit in front of TV Sunday and know a Packers loss gives the Bears a one-game advantage.
So prepare them, Lovie.  And throw it to your team, Jay.  And leave Miami at 7-3.