DBB is currently on a short 40th birthday vacation in Atlantic City, NJ. If news breaks on the GM/coach front, we will break that sabbatical and have commentary right here.
All lines are from DraftKings Sportsbook.
For me, Cardinals at Rams is a gambling stay away. I don’t particularly trust either team. But the guide needs to have some action.
This game has one storyline: the Bears have a quarterback who makes you think it’s not over when the ball is in his hands with 30 seconds left and no timeouts. That’s fun.
— DaBearsBlog (@dabearsblog) November 9, 2021
— Hed Joyer (@JedHoyerEnjoyer) November 9, 2021
I always like the Chicago Bears.
And I’m finding it very easy to ignore all of the elements of this franchise that are not called Justin Fields.
Question #1. Can the Bears stop Najee Harris? A lot has been made about the lack of pass rush the last two weeks but the run defense has been just as bad. Fournette averaged 5.4 per carry. Ronald Jones averaged 6.3. Elijah Mitchell averaged 7.6. The Steelers have not been a particularly good run team but they stay committed to it; Harris is fourth in the league in attempts. If the Bears don’t improve dramatically in this department they’re going to get blown out.
Question #2. Can the Bears block T.J. Watt? We have this answer already, don’t we? Nick Bosa got Fields twice. Myles Garrett got him 11 times or something. The Bears don’t have the talent on the edge or the schematic prowess on the sideline to nullify elite edge rushers. Watt has game wrecker potential Monday night.
Question #3. How much can Justin Fields do? He doesn’t have time in the pocket. He doesn’t have receivers getting separation. Fields will have to be every bit of what he was against San Francisco (and then some) to keep the Bears competitive with Pittsburgh. (Which is sad, honestly, because Pittsburgh isn’t very good.) What does that mean? Probably another 75-yard plus output on the ground to keep the chains moving. Asking that from him weekly is a recipe for disaster.
Wilson’s “Century Cycle” – all set in the Hill District of Pittsburgh – is the greatest achievement in the history of the American theatre. He is a playwright and poet of the highest order; his characters stampede across the stage, driven by love and rage and mysticism and a desperate desire to simply survive.
The cycle is ten plays detailing the African American experience in this community over a century, with each play taking on a different decade. This is my ranking. If any of these plays are being staged near you, see it. (There are good film versions of Fences, Ma Rainey and Piano Lesson streaming but the experience simply isn’t the same. These are, at their very core, plays.)
10. Radio Golf
Old Joe: That’s a nice pin you got there. That look like the flag. Nice colors. The Red White and Blue. We had a flag during the war. Company B Fourth Battalion. Fellow named Joe Mott carried the flag. He got shot in the head on the second of November 1942. He was betting against it but he lost. Lots of men died under that flag. That American flag was everywhere. Joe Mott carried it into battle but it was everywhere. In the mess hall. In the dance hall. We had a great big mess hall and they would bring the women in from the town and we’d have a great big old dance. You look up and there would be that flag hanging behind the bandstand. That flag was everywhere. You saw it in the morning when you woke up and you saw it at night before you went to bed. Sometimes you saw it in your sleep. When the time come and I saw Joe Mott fall with that flag…shot right through the head… bullet went in one end and come out the other…I don’t know where it went after that.
09. King Hedley II
King: Pernell stepped on me and I pulled his life out by the root. What does that make me? It don’t make me a big man.
08. Gem of the Ocean
Aunt Ester: You think you supposed to know everything. Life is a mystery. Don’t you know life is a mystery? I see you still trying to figure it out. It ain’t all for you to know. It’s all an adventure. That’s all life is. But you got to trust that adventure.
07. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Cutler: Slow Drag ain’t missed a stroke. The gal, she just look at her man with that sweet dizzy look in her eye. She ain’t about to stop! Folks was clearing out, ducking and hiding under tables, figuring there’s gonna be a fight. Slow Drag just looked over the gal’s shoulder at he man and said, “Mister, if you’d quit hollering and wait a minute . . . you’ll see I’m doing you a favor. I’m helping this gal win ten dollars so she can buy you a gold watch.” The man just stood there and looked at him, all the while stroking that knife.
06. The Piano Lesson
Berniece: Money can’t buy what that piano cost.
05. Two Trains Running
Holloway: Aunt Ester give you more than money. She make you right with yourself.
04. Joe Turner’s Come and Gone
Bynum: When you grab hold to a woman, you got a whole world there.
03. Seven Guitars
Hedley: He would not call me King. He laughed to think a black man could be King. I did not want to lose my name, so I told him to call me the name my father gave me, and he laugh. He would not call me King, and I beat him hard with a stick.”
Booster: Car service. (One of the more beautiful last lines in theatre history.)
Cory: How come you ain’t never liked me?
Troy: Liked you? Who the hell say I got to like you? What law is there say I got to like you? Wanna stand up in my face and ask a damn fool ass question like that. Talking about liking somebody. Come here boy, when I talk to you. Straighten up dammit! I asked you a question… what law is there say I got to like you?
You hear coaches saying it, and it is so true: except for the occasional turnover, defenses don’t stop offenses late in these games anymore. Offense wins almost all the time.
— Mike Francesa (@MikeFrancesa) November 23, 2020
(1) Colts came into the week as the league’s top-ranked defense. Chiefs came into the week as the favorite to win the Super Bowl. Both teams allowed 31 points. Both teams won. The above Tweet from Mike Francesa mirrors something Gil Brandt Tweeted not so long ago and something I’ve been harping on this season. The days of building a team around the defense are over. You have to build a team that can score seven points with a minute remaining. Explosive players. Speed. Oh and someone who can accurately throw the football to explosive players with speed.
Monday Night Football’s game between two top 5 defenses should have cemented this idea.
(2) Just marvel at what the Steelers have done. This was a team defined by running the ball and playing defense for fifty years. They still do the latter well, drafting consistently good players on that side of the ball. But they saw how the league was changing and completely shifted their offensive philosophy. And year-after-year they’ve added more weapons, and more speed on the outside. Smith-Schuster. Washington. Diontae. Ray-Ray. Claypool. They’ve adapted to the modern game. And they have the quarterback.
(3) Carson Wentz is broken. His mechanics have gotten shaky. His internal clock is way off. Sometimes he rushes throws because of phantom pressure. Sometimes he holds onto the ball for an eternity. Is it fixable? Probably. But one has to believe Doug Pederson is considering more than just a Jalen Hurts package. Can Hurts possibly be worse than this?
(4) Everyone needs to stop with their anti-NFC East nonsense. We have divisions. You win the division, you get into the tournament. That’s the sport. And for those who don’t know, the NFC East carried the league’s ratings water for about twenty years. This was the best division in the sport for a long, long time. They’re having a down year. But I’m going to seriously enjoy watching this play out. (And I think it may be decided on the field, Week 17, when the Giants and Cowboys meet.)
All right, Bears fans. We’re still a couple weeks out from the official start of free agency, and while a few noteworthy cuts, extensions, trades and franchise tags have all taken place we’re still pretty much just…. waiting.
I’m not a data wizard like John, nor covering a lot of breaking Bears news like Andrew, so I’m diving headfirst into the deep, consequence-free waters of speculation. Think of this article more like a conversation between two drinking buddies at the bar. Open a beer while you read if it helps, and come join me! The waters are warm and not to be taken too seriously.
This week we’re talking about expectations. More specifically, two teams I think will exceed expectations in 2018, and two I think are heading towards disappointment. I also picked one (wild guess, complete dark horse, probably doesn’t stand a chance, but what the hell, it’s March?) team that I feel on a gut level might have a breakthrough year.
I tried to mostly steer clear of the super obvious (by that I mean I didn’t pick the Browns to still be terrible), and it goes without saying (but I’m going to say it, anyways) that moves made in free agency and the draft, along with the other 50 million variables that might change a course of a season, could greatly affect my views on these five teams come the start of the season.
For now these are my predictions:
I mean, this is DBB, guys. Obviously I’m going to include them. Most every fan has it in their hearts that *this year* is going to be *the year* their team gets awesome, right? The great news for Bears fans is this year we actually do have a lot to be excited about! Including:
Went 2-2 ATS last week and would have been 3-1 if I’d remembered never to lay 9 points on an Andy Reid-coached team under any circumstances. Still, 2-2 is a good start. Need a 3-1 week to keep the dream of topping 7-4 alive. I’m confident.
All spreads from BETUS, Thursday evening.
Saturday – 3:20 pm CT
Pick: Falcons -3
This is the hardest game to analyze on the weekend because it’s impossible to know what to expect from Nick Foles. But if the Falcons defense plays as fast and angry as it did against the Rams, how could anyone expect Foles to get anything done through the air? A few interceptions are likely as the Falcons continue their journey to Super Bowl redemption…maybe. Falcons 20, Eagles 14.
Saturday – 7:15 pm CT
Pick: Patriots -13
This Titans crap has gone on long enough. Patriots 27, Titans 10.
Sunday – 12:05 pm CT
Pick: Steelers -7
Here’s my hot take for the column: the Jaguars defense is overrated. Jimmy G tore them to ribbons on Christmas Eve. Since then they’ve faced the offensive juggernauts of Tennessee and Buffalo and could easily have lost to both. (Tyrod Taylor had plenty of opportunities.)
I can’t imagine a scenario where Ben Roethlisberger repeats his mid-season “maybe I don’t have it anymore” nightmare. I can imagine a scenario where Chad Henne finds his way onto the field to replace Blake Bortles. Steelers 30, Jags 10
Sunday – 3:40 pm CT
Pick: Saints +5
Last week I didn’t trust Goff. This week I don’t trust Keenum. Both had wonderful regular season but the playoffs are an entirely different animal. Every single throw carries the weight of the entire season. Is Keenum ready for that pressure?
New Orleans has the corners to limit what the Vikings receivers can do outside, allowing their front to harass the Minnesota signal caller into mistakes. Then the game falls on the arm of Drew Brees and, well, he’s just fine with that. Saints 20, Vikings 17
The Bears won a game they had no business winning without the use of a quarterback. Their defense and rushing attack were so good they could have beaten any team in the league yesterday. Their quarterback? Non-existent. More thoughts: