Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears this Week?
No Style Points Needed
For some time, the evaluative process, especially at coach and quarterback, has been more important than the final score. Not Sunday.
How Sunday looks doesn’t matter. Cleveland likes to play ugly football. Chicago likes to play ugly football. This is going to be an ugly football game. But if the Bears exit Cleveland Browns Stadium having scored more points than the building’s namesake, the entire tone of this season changes. If the Bears can get to 6-8 Sunday, they will achieve three things: (a) their first three-game win streak in years, (b) entrenchment in the wildcard discussion, and (c) one of the most impressive in-season turnarounds from any head coach in recent memory.
One could argue the Bears don’t belong in that playoff discussion but that is obviously false at this stage. The Bears don’t belong in the conversation with San Francisco or Dallas, and even this damaged Philly has earned respect. But after those three, there is a mess of mediocrity in the conference and the Bears are part of that mediocrity. They’ve dominated the Lions for 7.5 of 8 quarters. They’ve beaten Minnesota. They had 11 chances to beat the Saints with their backup quarterback. Green Bay lost to Tommy DeVito on Monday night. There is no gap between these teams. If the Bears didn’t blow those two absurd leads, they’d be betting favorites to make the tournament.
This has been a wild season, but the Browns are the last team on the 2023 schedule with a winning record. If the Bears want to make their fans believe a serious season is still possible, a win on Sunday is all it will take. No style points needed.
Six Thoughts on Home Alone 2
It is quite possibly the strangest film ever made. Here are some reasons why.
- I’ll start with the pigeon woman, played valiantly by the great Brenda Fricker. This is a woman who tells Kevin she was dumped by a guy and her response to that was…to go be a homeless pigeon lady in Central Park? This guy says, “Sorry, honey, I don’t love you” and her response is, “Ah, shit, I guess it’s pigeons for me, then?”
- More pigeon. How does she have access to the prop room at Carnegie Hall? How does she get up there? Is there a separate entrance? Does she always have access to that space? And if so, why doesn’t she just live there and not in the park with pigeons?
- What is Tim Curry’s end game with Kevin? Does he think Kevin will go to jail? He’s a child. Why wouldn’t he just alert a police officer and say, “Hey, I think this kid is in some kind of a trouble. Can you check it out?” It’s not a La Quinta at the side of a highway. It’s The Plaza.
- Kevin knows exactly what time The Sticky Bandits are going to rob Duncan’s. Why does he break the window and then lead them into another torture maze? Just go tell any cop on the street, “Hey, these guys are robbing that store. And they broke out of jail.” As twisted as Kevin reveals himself to be in the first film, he is clearly showing the signs of a future serial killer in the second film.
- So, Kevin wrongly boards a plane from Chicago to New York and doesn’t notice in three hours that none of his 47 family members are on the plane. Then he disembarks at an airport that has a clear view of the skyline; an airport that does not exist in New York. And then his instincts are, “I’m going to hang in NYC for a bit” instead of just telling an airline official, “Hey, I got on the wrong plane. We were supposed to go to Florida. Should I just sit here while this gets sorted?”
- Have you ever walked into a single room and confused the conversation on a television set with the conversation of actual human beings in that room?
Dick Butkus Video of the Week
Stats of Import
- The Browns were arguably the best defense in the league, but it’s worth noting they have allowed an average of 29.3 points per game in their two games against Baltimore and one against Denver, i.e. the mobile quarterbacks they have faced. They have also allowed 36 and 27 their last two games.
- Joe Flacco has played 185 career games. He has 861 rushing yards. That means he averages 4.65 yards rushing a game. For a comparison, Justin Fields went over 2,000 career rushing yards on Sunday in just his 36th game. If the Chicago pass rush continues its recent ways, they will be Sweating on the Oldie.
- Third down defense will define this game and it is where the Browns thrive. They are allowing opponents to convert third downs at a league-best 29% clip. The Bears have been improving on defense weekly, but they still allow conversions on third down at 45.5% for the season, fourth worst in the sport.
I have heard people rant and rave and bellow
That we’re done and we might as well be dead
But I’m only a cockeyed optimist
And I can’t get it into my head
– Oscar Hammerstein, South Pacific
Chicago Bears 16, Cleveland Browns 13