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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Chiefs at Bears Game Preview Volume II: Can the Bears Pull Off a Signature Win in 2019?

| December 20th, 2019

I miss the Billy Goat every single day I’m not there.

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

Even now, even through this rocky campaign, I still do.

Three Statistical Thoughts

  • QB rating is a flawed statistic. A Hail Mary picked off to end the first half is the same negative as an interception thrown on a final drive with the team down 4. Productive incompletions don’t exist. Bubble screens and easy completions are gold. But ultimately the stat persists because it’s become a good, general representation of which quarterbacks are playing well and which quarterbacks are not. (One needs only look at the top 12 in the stat currently to see that there are very few, if any, outliers.)
    • Trubisky has 6 games this season with a 70 rating or below. Six.
    • Mahomes has one in the last two seasons combined. One. Total.
  • Right now there are 11 teams with a turnover differential of +5 or better: Pats, Packers, Seahawks, Vikings, Saints, Ravens, Steelers, Chiefs, Titans, Bills, Niners. Only one of those teams – the Titans – are not currently in the playoffs. (And they are basically playing playoff games the next two weeks.) It is the most important statistic in the game and it’s a primary reason the Bears aren’t in the postseason this year. Their defense has been good but it hasn’t been able to compensate for the bad offense by turning opponents over and scoring.
  • Everyone blames the Bears lack of rushing attack for their struggles on offense, if the goal is not to blame Trubisky. The Chiefs rank 25th in this category and run for only 7 more yards per game than the Bears. Yet they are top five in both total yards and points per game. The reason why is pretty simple.
    • And the Chiefs don’t have a particularly good offensive line either. Not a single member of that unit was voted to the Pro Bowl. Nor was a running back. Yet the QB, two receivers and a TE were. Again, not hard to figure out why.

Tweet of the Week

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Week 16: The Game Poem

| December 18th, 2019

The String

by j. hughes

They call it the string,

and you play it out.

It’s not a fun thing,

to be writing about.

Too often this team

has found themselves here.

Ending a dream,

with eyes on next year.

The table was set

for a brilliant campaign.

Expectations unmet,

we keep corked the champagne.

The string is what we fear,

to see it played out,

As we add another year

To the Super Bowl drought.

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