And So Ends Another One: Bears at Packers Week 18 Game Preview

| January 5th, 2024

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears this Week?







Justin Fields as a Mixed Drink…

I was asked by @AlexBryant93, as I tweeted from behind the sticks, what mixed drink Justin Fields might be. So, I spent some time ruminating on the topic.

First, let’s rule some drinks out. Fields is not your classic NFL quarterback so we can rule out the classics like the Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Martini, Vodka tonic, etc. (Is there a more vodka tonic quarterback than Kirk Cousins?)

Fields seems to struggle with the simple stuff. He doesn’t always hit the layups. So, I would argue he’s not a vodka soda, or vodka cran, or even a Jameson ginger.

But he’s explosive, and fun. He’s got an electric deep-ball arm and might be the most dynamic runner in the game. So, I want a fun alcohol in the conversation. I also want something with an element not found in any other mixed cocktail.

And so it is decided. Justin Fields is an espresso martini. 2 oz of Mr. Black coffee liqueur. 2 oz of freshly made espresso. 1 oz of simple syrup. A dash of bitters. And shake the shit out of it. That extra element? A few espresso beans sprinkled atop the drink as garnish.

(And if you’re ever at PJ Horgan’s in Sunnyside, Queens, I make the best espresso martini in town.)

The Final Dick Butkus Video of the Season

Stats of the Week

  • I am a big believer in opponent passer rating as an indicator of how good a team’s pass defense is. Green Bay is allowing opposing passers an average rating of 94.6, ranking them 26th in the league. This is an opportunity for Fields to stack solid passing performances.
  • Montez Sweat leads the Bears with 6 sacks on the season. He also leads the Washington Commanders with 6.5 sacks. Can he hold on to both leads Sunday? If he does, it’ll be one of the more remarkable NFL statistics I can remember.
  • DJ Moore currently sits on 1,300 receiving yards, placing his season fifth all-time for the organization. He is one yard behind Jeff Graham’s 1995, 100 behind Marcus Robinson’s 1999, 121 behind Alshon Jeffery’s 2013 and 208 behind Brandon Marshall’s 2012. It’s highly unlikely Moore sets the single season mark, but one could easily argue this is the second-most impressive season ever from a Bears receiver. Graham had Curtis Conway (1,037 yards), Robinson had Bobby Engram (947 yards), and Jeffery had Marshall (1,295 yards). Marshall had nobody in 2012, and that season led many of us to predict big things for the 2013 Bears. Moore likely slots right behind him.

Week 18 Gambling Guide

It is always the zaniest week of gambling. But here are three I’m looking at.

CINCINNATI -5 over Cleveland. The Browns are rolling, but it is highly unlikely the season’s coach of the year, Kevin Stefanski, plays a single viable starter. The Bengals had the season from hell – it happens in the injury ravaged NFL – but I think Zac Taylor’s group will be highly motivated to post a winning record for 2023, building towards a rebound in 2024.

PATRIOTS ML over NY Jets (-142). I understand the Patriots are in position to draft one of the two quarterbacks, but let’s look at a few factors here. (1) There is a possibility this is Bill Belichick’s last game as Pats coach. He won’t give a damn about their future picks. (2) Belichick despises the Jets. (3) The Pats have been playing terrific defense the last two months. Why would that not continue against one of the worst offenses in the league?

Bills at DOLPHINS UNDER 50.5. The Bills tend to manhandle the Dolphins, and the Dolphins are coming in the most banged up they have been this season. On the flip side, the Bills offense has been suffering an identity crisis throughout the 2023 season. This feels like a 24-17 kind of a game.

Game Prediction

If the Bears win this game, they will finish the season 8-9 and hit my season prediction exactly. It would then be impossible to call this campaign anything other than what it has been: progress. But this is an opportunity for the Bears to knock the Packers out of the postseason. Anything other than their most spirited effort of the year will be a colossal disappointment.

Chicago Bears, 27, Green Bay Packers 24

Next week: I should have the films of 2023 pretty much done and dusted, so my top films of the year list should be ready.

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