Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?
I always like the Chicago Bears.
And the game has significantly more juice with Justin Fields in the starting lineup. The idea of Nick Foles starting at Lambeau Field, in primetime, had some Henry Burris vs. Tampa (2002) vibes.
This could be the last time the Bears see Aaron Rodgers in a Green Bay Packers uniform. And it is very difficult to contextualize his tenure with the team. So here are a bunch of thoughts.
- My biggest disappointment is the Bears never fielded a quarterback to go toe-to-toe with him. For all the talk of his “owning” the Bears, look at the opposing quarterbacks he owned. (I own a 2005 Chevy Cavalier with 206k miles on it. I don’t brag about it.) Jay Cutler was his best opposition, and nobody puts Cutler and Rodgers in the same sentence, unless that sentence starts, “If I were to rank quarterbacks by how much I didn’t want to be trapped in an elevator with them, it would go Cutler, Rodgers…”
- There’s an odd symmetry between the regular season careers of Rodgers and Tom Brady, as both dominated weak divisions for the entire careers. But the symmetry ends there. Rodgers’ stats don’t fall in almost any important category in the postseason, except one. He is 135-65-1 in the regular season and 11-9 in the postseason, reaching only one Super Bowl. But is he really to blame for that?
- His numbers do plummet in the NFC title game. He is 1-4. His TD/INT is 9/8. His rating is 83.7, a good 20 points lower than his regular season and non-title game ratings. If there is a fly in the ointment of his career, it is those games.
- People have tried to assign logic to Rodgers’ desires to leave Green Bay, questioning why he’d want to abandon one of the better rosters in the league. But you can’t apply logic to people as thin-skinned and temperamental as Rodgers. If something the organization did offended him, it is unlikely he’ll ever move on from it. (This is a guy who cut off his entire family over a woman and she was like five women ago.) Rodgers is still on the Packers in 2021 because GB knew they had a title-contending roster this season and they also knew that wouldn’t be true with Jordan Love.
Sondheim at the Cinema
Once again, I’ll be writing more extensively about Sondheim this off-season when content is harder to come by, but I am using these game previews to simply share his work. Sondheim was a cinephile to an intense extent (I know the feeling). He and Anthony Perkins co-wrote the excellent film The Last of Sheila, which you can rent on Amazon or anywhere else you do those things. Here are some other contribution to the world of movies.
Sondheim wrote the absolutely lovely score for this underrated Alain Resnais picture.
Sondheim provided the song “Goodbye for Now” for Warren Beatty’s score. It’s a gorgeous melody that stands out dramatically in the film.
Dick Tracy (1990)
Sondheim won the Academy Award for “Sooner or Later” but I actually think “Back in Business” is the better song. However, I don’t know a Sondheim junkie that doesn’t consider Mandy Patinkin and Madonna’s gorgeous duet of “What Can You Lose” their favorite musical passage in the film.
Players Worth Watching
[This is the section of the game preview where I would normally write about young players like Cole Kmet, Larry Borom, Teven Jenkins, even Khalil Herbert. “But I’ve done that already, or didn’t you know, love?” (Sondheim, Follies) I’ll spare you that section this week. You know who to watch.]
Tweet of the Week
If you heard somebody say “Las Vegas vs. the Washington Football Team” five years ago you’d probably have been like “Look, motherfucker, I don’t follow soccer.”
— Super 70s Sports (@Super70sSports) December 6, 2021
- The Packers easily handled the Rams (a far superior team to the Bears) in their last outing and have had two weeks to get healthy since that victory.
- With David Montgomery ailing, this game will likely fall on the legs of Herbert and Justin Fields. In the first contest, they combined for 25 rushes, 140 yards, and a touchdown. And even with those numbers, the Bears lost at home by double digits. (Perhaps the most damning thing about Nagy’ offense is how he’s managed to develop a top rushing attack and still not put together even a serviceable passing attack to complement it.)
- Two stats:
- The Packers are 5-0 against the spread this season at Lambeau Field. (GB is favored by 12.5 and that line hasn’t moved since it opened.)
- Rodgers is pitching a rating north of 120 in clean pockets. And with Robert Quinn being the only viable pass rusher healthy for the Bears, he should see quite a few clean pockets.
Green Bay Packers 33, Chicago Bears 17