Nothing about this recent string of victories – and yes, two wins is considered a string – has been convincing. Nothing that has transpired in either game leads me to believe the 2014 Chicago Bears can line up against a good opponent and win. So…
Why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?
I always like the Chicago Bears.
What Don’t I Like…
I don’t like the match-up for the Bears offensive line, which has played poorly of late. Detroit simply has too many good players along their defensive front for the Bears to block with any consistency. The only way to counter this mismatch would seem to be the Bears committing to the run game* against the best rush defense in the sport. (As you can tell I am not expecting many points from the Bears this week.)
*Not how I’d do it. See the next words.
How Would I approach the Lions?
Spread them out and chuck it.
Committing to the run early will put the Bears off-sequence in the passing game. Tom Brady and the Patriots ran the ball a total of six times in the first half against Detroit and went into the locker room with a 24-6 lead. And when they threw the ball, they threw it quickly. The Lions defense is still suspect in the secondary and if ever there was a game for Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery to assert their size and strength, this is it.
Seven Other Thoughts…
- Bears need to keep feeding the ball to Marquess Wilson. As much as I ridicule fan expectations for a 7th round draft pick, the kid has the ability to get open. Drops happen, even to the best receivers, and the only way out of the habit is opportunities. If Cutler trusts Wilson, Sunday’s drops shouldn’t be a reason lose that trust.
- Cutler’s pocket awareness will be center stage. He is going to get hit, most likely a lot. Giving the struggling Lions offense short fields with fumbles would be a disaster for the Bears.
- Calvin Johnson is a sleeping giant and he’s been frustrated by brilliant secondary play in consecutive games. Don’t misread his low numbers of late for a decline in ability or injury residue. He’s been coached and played down. Can the Bears achieve this?
- Two keys to the game for the Bears: Pat O’Donnell and Marc Mariani. O’Donnell has struggled with directional punting but that shouldn’t be a major issue with Jeremy Ross, who has lacked explosion in the Lions punt return game. Expect P.O.D. to go big leg Thursday. Midfield Mariani needs to make a few plays. He needs to give the Bears offense a few short fields.
- The Bears should attack Rashean Mathis. He looked lost against the Patriots.
- Bears pre-snap penalties should be focus area number one for the offense. Detroit’s crowd will make life miserable on them if they can’t get on same page about snap count. (Fact that this is an issue for professional football players boggles my mind.)
- Expect 3-5 bubble screens to Alshon Jeffery. Patriots had success with Brandon LaFell on similar design.
Everyone has favorite Christmas movies…
But Thanksgiving really does get the shaft. Here are my three favorite Thanksgiving movies.
#3 Broadway Danny Rose is a madcap comedy and one of Woody Allen’s true cinematic triumphs. It’s also a quietly poignant story of a man who deeply loves those he works with and for, summarized beautifully in the film’s final scene: Rose (a low-level talent agent) and his many acts share Thanksgiving TV dinners in his apartment.
#2 Big Night has nothing to do with the holiday but it’s about two things: food and family. To me, that is a Thanksgiving movie. Here is the final scene, one of my favorite scenes in movie history:
#1 Planes, Trains & Automobiles is everyone’ choice as best Thanksgiving movie ever made and it should be. It gets unneeded bonus points around here for this Bears mention:
Three Bears That Need To Show Up
Final Score Prediction
Chicago Bears 16, Detroit Lions 13 (OT)