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Week Four Game Preview, Volume II: Can the Bears Find Their Way to 3-1?

| September 30th, 2022


Five Things I Think Will Happen:

  • Robert Quinn only has one sack this season but Sunday, against Houston, he was close to a breakout performance. The breakout comes in the Meadowlands with 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
  • The Giants will rush for 128 yards and a touchdown. Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka are coaching their quarterback in a similar fashion to what is happening in Chicago. The trust isn’t there. They throw when necessary.
  • The Bears will rush for 157 yards and two touchdowns. Statistically, through three games, this is a mismatch the Bears should exploit.
  • Giants DC Wink Martindale will confuse Justin Fields, leading to 3-4 sacks on third and long. Wink will disguise coverages. He’ll bring pressure from unlikely sources. If Fields isn’t ready and willing to get rid of the football quickly, it’ll be another long afternoon for the quarterback. (And what evidence do we have that he’ll be ready and willing to do that?)
  • The stat that defines the game: tight end production in the passing attack.
    • Daniel Jones is starting to trust Daniel Bellinger and the Bears didn’t have any answers for the Houston tight ends.
    • Cole Kmet was open all day Sunday and the Giants allowed 5-56 to Dallas tight ends Monday night.
    • Neither of these teams offer much at wide receiver.

Both of these teams play slow, ugly football games. And that’s exactly what we’ll see in NJ.

Chicago Bears 23, New Jersey Giants 20

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Week Four Game Preview, Volume I: “Same Old Song” Heads to New Jersey

| September 29th, 2022


They are coming off one of the least rewarding wins in recent memory. So…

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears this Week?

I.

Always.

Like.

THE.

Chicago.

Bears.


Video of the Week


The Passer Rating Problem

If you were to list the six men playing quarterback at the highest level through three games, who would you list? Jalen Hurts. Tua. Josh Allen. Lamar Jackson. Mahomes. Probably Trevor Lawrence?

Well, those six men currently lead the NFL in passer rating. Passer rating is not a flawless stat by any means. Quarterbacks should not be penalized for throwing the football away or for interceptions off the hands of their receivers. And quarterbacks should be rewarded statistically for avoiding negative plays and extending drives with their legs. But nevertheless, the passer rating stat is still our finest tool for measuring consistency at the position. All six of those players have a rating north of 100, and you don’t fluke your way into that number.

Justin Fields’ passer rating is 50. That ranks him 33rd in the league. And yes, there are only 32 starting quarterbacks.

The gap between Fields and Mac Jones in 31st (Trey Lance is 32nd) is 26.2 points.

That’s the gap between Jones and the top six, with Lawrence at 103.1.

This means that, according to the passer rating statistic, Fields is as far being the 31st ranked quarterback as Jones – who has been terrible – is from being a borderline Pro Bowler.

The Giants, who have a terrible secondary, have played three quarterbacks. Their passer ratings against:

  • Ryan Tannehill: 106.4
  • Baker Mayfield: 74.6
  • Cooper Rush: 98.2

Fields needs a clean game. No turnovers. High completion percentage. A few big plays. Nobody should be asking for (or looking for) more than that at this stage. If Fields can pitch to a QB rating around 90, there will at least be SOME reason for optimism moving forward in 2022.

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What Do You Write When There’s Nothing to Write About?

| January 3rd, 2022


You see them sprouting up across the internet.

“Five Things the Bears Can Learn from Their Game with the Giants.”

“Which Bears Have Something to Prove Sunday?”

“Why Bears vs. Vikings Matters.”

There is nothing to learn.

Nobody is proving anything.

It doesn’t matter.

These are the sad facts of playing out the string, down the stretch of an NFL season, especially when there’s major organizational change coming in the off-season. It was nice to see the Bears put on a fun show for their fans Sunday at Soldier Field, harassing a Giants offense that would politely be described as sub-professional. Matt Nagy’s team has not quit, and the schedule has presented them with some beatable opponents, keeping the season from being an embarrassment.

But while we all want to find value in each of the 17 games we are given to watch each year, the truth is there’s little to be found in these contests. And there is a certain disingenuousness to writing about them with any level of seriousness. (Star Trib columnist Jim Souhan actually used a game quarterbacked by Sean Mannion as “final proof” that Mike Zimmer should be fired in Minnesota.) There is rarely any correlation between how a team finishes one season and how they begin the next one. There are simply too many variables, too much turnover.

And a week from today, Monday January 10th, a new era will begin for the Chicago Bears. Coach Nagy will be fired; a very good man who just never developed into a very good coach. GM Ryan Pace likely will too; a solid talent evaluator paying the price for whiffing on his two most important decisions. All focus will shift to finding their replacements. The final games of this season will be completely forgotten.

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The 26Shirts Game Preview: Week Two

| September 18th, 2020

The current shirt from 26Shirts is my concept and design and you can see it over on the right rail (or down below on mobile). Proceeds going to great cause. You can read all about that, and place your order, by CLICKING HERE. It ain’t just tee shirts, either. The hoodies, light and sweatshirt-style, are both very cool.


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears, despite this Allen Robinson situation.

Would I like to see Robinson in Chicago long-term? Of course. Would I be rushing to give him $20 million a year without knowing who my quarterback is in 2021? Nope. No I would not.

Nevertheless, Robinson’s case is only supported by positive play and that’s what I would expect moving forward.


Breaking Down the New York Giants

Offense

  • Everything with this offense feeds off the running game and Saquon Barkley. If the Giants are getting four or five yards a carry with their star running back it opens up their entire playbook and makes them a very difficult group to defend.
  • If the run game isn’t working for the Giants, they’ll try to compensate for deficiencies at the offensive tackle spots with quick, mid-range slants to Sterling Shepard or by mismatching their tight ends on opposing linebackers and safeties. This is a difficult way to move the ball because it requires 10-12 plays, mistake free, for points.
  • Darius Slayton is the deep threat and the Giants will take their shots if Daniel Jones is given consistent time in the pocket. Eddie Jackson can’t let Slayton get over the top.
  • Pressure, of course, is always key, but specifically against Jones. When Jones is drop-and-toss he’s strong-armed and accurate. When he sits deep for an extra second or two (and often pump fakes) he gives defensive backs opportunities to make plays on the ball. He’s also one of the game’s more prolific fumblers.
  • If you blitz Jones, you better have eyes on Barkley. He’s a home run waiting to happen on every screen. And Barkley is one of the worst blocking backs in the sport so his only viability in the passing game is in space.

Defense

  • This is not a particularly talented group but they compensate with (a) hustle and (b) disguise. If their opener is any indication, they’ll keep Trubisky guessing right up until the snap.
  • Two players to account for on this defense: Lorenzo Carter and Blake Martinez. They are the engine.
  • The Bears will once again be seeing an underwhelming collection of corners. James Bradberry can play but Corey Ballentine and Darnay Holmes are liabilities with the ball in the air. Trubisky can’t be afraid to give his receivers opportunities to make plays. If he’s waiting for Robinson and Miller and Mooney to get open in space, he’s waiting too long.

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Bears Beat Giants, Move To 5-6

| November 25th, 2019

Travel day for me. (Buffalo rocks.) So here are some quick thoughts on a tedious, boring win over the Giants.

  • Trubisky has started using his legs and he looks like a different player when he does. Why this element of his game was absent for so long no one knows. But if Mitch is planning to save his career over the next two months, his legs are going to be a big part of it.
  • Ben Braunecker’s drop was terrible. But the Bears got the first down on the following play. This game would have been a blowout – 20+ points – if Trubisky’s decision making were better.
  • Even the touchdown pass to Robinson was not a good throw. It was behind the receiver. Mitch has the physical tools to play QB in the league. But right now he lacks the guts to play the position well.
  • Khalil Mack tormented Nate Solder.
  • You thought the Bears had a bad kicker?
  • Nick Kwiatkoski couldn’t play in coverage last season. That ain’t the case anymore. Kwik is now a well-rounded player that’s going to get money to be a starter this off-season. That money should come from Ryan Pace. Keep your own.

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Week 12: Giants at Bears Game Poem

| November 22nd, 2019

“The roni cup, also known as “cup and char” pepperoni, has long been a hallmark of pizza in Buffalo…”


“In Buffalo”

by J. Hughes

While you’re watching Chicago play offense (I think),

I’ll be in Buffalo, at the Old Pink.

While the quarterbacks (plural) are doing their thing

I’ll be in Buffalo, having a wing.

You’ll get to see defense, Chicago does that,

But I’ll be in Buffalo, drinkin’ Labatt.

Maybe you’ll watch from your fav-o-rite bar?

I’ll be in Buffalo, for the cup and the char.

What happens from here, not sure anyone cares.

The title won’t be ours, it will always be theirs.

I’ll still be in Buffalo,

Yes even in Buffalo,

I’ll be in Buffalo, watching the Bears.

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Week 12: Giants at Bears Game Preview

| November 21st, 2019


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears…

…and if they don’t win this game Sunday, they could lose the remaining games on their schedule. They won’t be a bigger favorite the rest of the season. (And the line was set at 6.5 without a quarterback announcement. This means Vegas – who are quite good at this – see no difference between Trubisky and Daniel.)

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