Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears this Week?
New Thinking on Quarterbacks/Defense
How many great quarterbacks are there currently in the NFL? How do we even define a great quarterback anymore? What if we reframed the question as…how many teams are currently not looking to upgrade the quarterback position? I’ll be conservative: Mahomes, Herbert, Russ (he does look pretty good) Lamar, Burrow, Deshaun (they have no choice), Tua, Rodgers (he’s old but he counts), Allen, Lawrence (I think), Stroud, Hurts, Dak (right?), Goff, Cousins (leave him there), Purdy (I know, I know), Kyler (maybe?). Some of those guys are elderly. Some of those guys are on the bubble. But even at my most conservative, only half the league has the QB position close to sorted.
How many great defenses are there currently in the NFL? Only nine units currently allow less than 20 points per game. But after watching the Browns and Ravens play a shootout and seeing the Saints get torched by Josh Dobbs, I would question whether there is a defensive group in the league capable of manhandling a decent opponent. The great defenses (a) bully bad offenses and (b) keep you in games with the good ones.
Is there a conclusion to be reached?
For me, the NFL has come down to a six-point lead with 1:41 on the clock. And two questions beg to be asked.
Do you have a quarterback that can put the ball in the end zone?
Do you have a defense that can keep the opponent out of the end zone?
If you can answer YES to those questions, you have a team that is likely to win double-digit games and make the tournament. Trying to find the next Peyton Manning/Tom Brady, or build the next ’85 Bears, seems a fool’s errand. Constructing a roster with the league’s financial impositions is too difficult. Find the right answers to those questions and become competitive on a weekly basis.
Dick Butkus Video of the Week
Why I’ve “Left” Twitter
Ever since Elon Musk set out to destroy Twitter, the platform has become toxic and borderline unusable. So, one could argue, it is the most successful business venture of Musk’s career. Why is it terrible now? The short answer is the “For You” function. Twitter’s brilliance, for years, was in the curation. I could control the content I consumed, and I could also control who regularly consumed my content. Now my engagements are 75% with individuals who (a) don’t follow me and (b) exist only to troll on the platform. That is a complete waste of time and thwarts my central intention with Twitter: driving traffic to this website.
And on a personal level, when you’re applying to PhD programs, a rigorous process with which I’m currently engaged, your resume needs to be spotless. And that includes any social media accounts attached to your name. Recently, in my “support” of Tyson Bagent, I have been subjected to numerous attacks from anonymous (and, of course, new) accounts calling me a racist. While it is absurd, it still exists. And I’m not going to continue using an app that promotes and supports the kind of behavior I insistently avoid in my everyday life.
This has been coming for a while. For the time being I will not delete the account. I will continue using it to promote the work on this site. (Our site’s traffic is reaching new heights under Robert’s reign.) Maybe, down the road, I’ll Tweet again, but, honestly, Twitter doesn’t miss me and the only element of Twitter I have missed is the cat videos and @Sculltronic can show me those.
My energy, when it comes to the Chicago Bears, will return to where it belongs: this space.
Old Timey Stats of the Week
- Detroit can be thrown on, but their rush defense is allowing only 79.1 yards per game, third in the NFL. The Bears are second against the run. So, if one follows those trends and believes this is a football game that will be won through the air, it is difficult to see Sunday as anything but a lopsided affair favoring the Lions. (They throw it for almost a hundred yards more per game than the Bears.)
- Point differential is an interesting stat, but I propose a slight alteration to how we consider it. What if we eliminated the most lopsided victory, and most lopsided defeat, from the statistic? What would that number tell us? In the NFC North, it would tell us the Lions and Bears are both a little better than their current numbers.
- Lions would move from +38 to +52.
- Vikings would move from +24 to +22.
- Packers would move from -3 to -7.
- Bears would move from -51 to -40.
- Right now, Jared Goff is 11-1 to lead the league in passing yardage, behind Mahomes, Tua, Stroud, Allen and Howell. Of the QBs who have played nine games, Goff trails the league leader, CJ Stroud, by only 119 yards. Goff is top ten in just about every relevant stat and should be in the MVP discussion.
- First downs per carry:
- David Montgomery – 26/106
- Jahmyr Gibbs – 20/90
- D’Onta Foreman – 20/86
- Do these stats mean anything? I don’t actually know.
- How about this for a statistic? Jared Goff has been sacked 15 times in 326 attempts. Giants QB Tommy Devito has been sacked 13 times in 54 attempts. (Goff is not going to be on the ground very often Sunday.)
The Movie Bit
Sunday I was able to introduce and lecture on Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, NY. It was inspiring to see more than 100 in attendance. In honor of that experience, here are my top ten Hitchcock films, as Hitch is one of only handful of filmmakers that lend themselves to a top ten.
(Again, I am presenting the list without comment, but am open to all cinema discussions over email, email@example.com.)
10. The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927)
9. North by Northwest (1959)
8. The 39 Steps (1935)
7. Strangers on a Train (1951)
6. Vertigo (1958)
5. Rope (1948)
4. Notorious (1946)
3. Psycho (1960)
2. Rear Window (1954)
1. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Honorable Mention: Downhill (1927), The Trouble with Harry (1955), Lifeboat (1944)
The Bears will certainly have an improved pass rush with the addition of Montez Sweat. But it will not be improved enough to significantly disrupt one of the game’s best passing attacks in their own building.
Detroit Lions 31, Chicago Bears 16