Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears this Week?
A Must Win?
Heading into tonight’s game, the draft order is as follows: (1) Cardinals, (2) Panthers -> Bears, (3) Bears, (4) Giants, (5) Patriots. This is the complete list of teams with two wins or less and, I believe, they are the only five teams currently competing for the top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
The Cardinals are going to get Kyler Murray back, likely this Sunday, and one would expect his presence to help them win a few more games. The Patriots are not a good football team, but does anyone think Bill Belichick won’t squeeze out a few victories over the second half of the season? And, honestly, the Bears showed good fight against New Orleans and will likely be better on both sides of the ball moving forward. 5-6 wins for them is not out of the question.
No, if the Bears want the first pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, they need it to come from the Carolina Panthers, and that means the Panthers need to finish with a worse record than the house-on-fire New York Giants. The Giants go to Dallas this week as 16-point underdogs, with Tommy Devito as their starting quarterback. If Devito continues to struggle, they’ll turn to #BarkleyTime. Even with their easy schedule on the horizon (Commanders, Patriots, Packers, Rams, etc.) there is a scenario wherein the Giants don’t win another game in 2023.
The clearest path to the top pick for the Bears is via the Panthers. And the Bears need to bury the Panthers tonight at Soldier Field to keep that path unfettered.
Dick Butkus Video of the Week
Quick Hit Movie Reviews
Killers of the Flower Moon is unlike anything Martin Scorsese has ever done, while also fitting perfectly into his remarkable canon. To see an 80-year-old takes these kinds of aesthetic leaps is a testament to the man’s genius. The film of the year, and the most emotionally and intellectually paralyzing final 20-minute passage I can remember.
The Pigeon Tunnel is one of Errol Morris’ least interesting documentaries: slow, plodding and lacking the inquisitional nature of his better work. Skip it altogether and have a screening of Mr. Death or Fog of War with your friends.
Five Nights at Freddy’s is one of the dumbest motion pictures ever made. And that stupidity could at least be excused if the film were fun. It’s not. It is wildly high “concept” and bizarrely low camp.
Stats of the Week
- It has become all the rage to say “sacks are an overrated statistic” but they’re not. The Bears have ten sacks through nine games, and it is clearly their definitive flaw. (But when I told folks that on social media in August I was screamed at.) The sack leaders in the NFL are the Ravens (35), Chiefs (31) and Eagles (30), arguably the three best teams in the NFL. Bryce Young has been running for his life most weeks, but will the Bears be able to make him uncomfortable?
- Bears are not only last in sacks, but they are also last in turnover differential at -9. Weirdly enough, this is not as impactful a stat as it has been in years gone by. Only three of the eight current division leaders have a turnover differential in the positive.
- Bears are currently running for 135.3 yards per game, ranking them 4th in the league. The Panthers are allowing 131.8 yards per game on the ground, ranking them 28th in the NFL. When you’re looking to find favorable matchups for the Bears, this is the stat that matters.
Montez Sweat, in front of the home crowd, delivers a multiple sack performance in a dominant defensive effort. D’Onta Foreman posts a 22 carry, 128-yard, 2 touchdown evening, as Khalil Herbert is nursed back into action.
Chicago Bears 24, Carolina Panthers 10