Welcome to Garbage Time: Cardinals at Bears Game Preview (and a Christmas Song Ranking Update!)

| December 22nd, 2023

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears this Week?







Welcome to Garbage Time

Last week I cared very much about the outcome of the Chicago Bears game.

This week I don’t.

This team, the 2023 edition of the Chicago Bears, has no business being outside the playoffs. If they don’t blow three double-digit, fourth-quarter leads, they would be 8-6 and sizing up a winnable first-round matchup in Detroit come January. But because they don’t have it at quarterback, and they don’t have it at head coach, they are 5-9 and playing out the string.

This is not my casting a verdict on either Fields or Flus. I don’t care anymore, honestly. When it comes to Fields, it is the most boring discourse I’ve encountered since starting this project in 2005. Never has so much debate centered around a mediocre player. Chips down, I would likely move on from both men immediately after the season. But a strong finish, winning out, would give the Bears an 8-9 campaign, and that is exactly what I expected from this season. So, if this group reaches my preseason expectations, what rationale do I have for advocating their removal?

But that’s all these stretch games are, a chance for Fields and Flus to make something of a closing summation. They’ve called their witnesses, presented their evidence, and done their cross examinations. The trial is effectively over. Home Cardinals, home Falcons, at Packers are an opportunity for the coach and quarterback to restate their case to the jury – Ryan Poles, Kevin Warren, George McCaskey – one final time. And that is operating under the assumption that this particular jury has not already reached their decision. (Which, let’s be honest, would be hard to believe.)

This is garbage time. Draw conclusions from the results at your own peril.

Top Ten Christmas Songs (Updated 2023)

10. The Christmas Song, Nat King Cole’s iconic rendition

9. Back Door Santa, Clarence Carter

8. It Feels Like Christmas from Muppet Christmas Carol, Paul Williams

7. Donde Esta Santa Claus, Augie Rios

6. Peace on Earth/The Little Drummer Boy, David Bowie and Bing Crosby

5. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Mel Torme’s rendition on the Home Alone soundtrack

4. December the Twenty Fifth from Scrooge, Leslie Bricusse (Correct!)

3. Hard Candy Christmas, Dolly Parton

2. Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis, Tom Waits

1. Fairytale of New York, The Pogues (RIP Shane)

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Bears at Vikings Monday Night Football Game Preview, Featuring the 2023 Christmas Movie Rankings!

| November 27th, 2023

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears this Week?







Contextualizing 3-8 (It’s About the Head Coach)

Should the Bears have beaten the Broncos? Yes. They didn’t, because of the head coach.

Should the Bears have beaten the Lions? Yes. They didn’t, because of the head coach.

Mediocre work on the sidelines would have the Bears 5-6 this season, which is exactly where most of us believed they would be at the Thanksgiving holiday. But the coaching, specifically the work from head coach Matt Eberflus, is the reason the Bears are (well) behind their 2023 targets/expectations.

Will Justin Fields be the starting quarterback in 2024? Who knows, but clearly his performance against the Lions last week made some of his more vocal critics, including myself, leave that door slightly ajar. Personally, I just don’t care anymore. Bring him back, don’t bring him back, whatever. I think Fields is good enough to win games but not good enough to be the reason you win a championship. But Josh Allen can’t even get to an AFC Championship Game while Brock Purdy is throwing up perfect quarterback ratings in blowout victories…so maybe there’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. I mean, would you rather have Fields or Jared Goff? I think I prefer Fields.

But Eberflus is never going to be a top head coach. That’s apparent on the sidelines almost every week. If the ceiling for Fields is “not the reason you win a championship,” the ceiling for Eberflus is .500.

The Christmas Movie Guide

This year, I’m going with ten films. Ten films only. I’ll be watching more than 40 Christmas movies over the next month, but it is time to make the difficult choices. It is hard to leave off films like Santa Claus the Movie and Jingle All the Way and Christmas with the Kranks and Noelle. It was not hard to leave off films I simply don’t like, including the perennial downer It’s a Wonderful Life and the wildly overrated A Christmas Story.

Three films worth noting here.

  • Klaus is slowly climbing into my top ten and would probably sit 11th currently.
  • While I believe White Christmas is a wonderful movie, it has almost nothing to do with his Christmas. It is a movie more about snow than Christmas.
  • I am not including A Very Murray Christmas, even though I will watch it at least a dozen times in the next month, because it’s not really a movie.

10. Scrooged (1988). The most beautifully written and performed speech in the Christas movie canon.

9. The Santa Clause (1994). The sequels are unwatchable, but the original is both sardonic and sweet hearted.

8. Die Hard (1988). I have gone back and forth on the “is Die Hard a Christmas movie” debate but I think Michael Kamen’s use of Silent Night in the score solidifies its standing in the corpus. It is the best movie on this list, but only the eighth best Christmas movie.

7. Home Alone (1990) *

*Home Alone 2 should be consumed for ironic purposes only, but it SHOULD be consumed. I will have a full game preview section on Home Alone 2 before Christmas. 

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