Monday, January 03, 2011

Bears - Packers Thoughts

I think they are the two best teams in the NFC. Both have great defenses and offenses that can get very hot very quickly. The difference to me is special teams.

The Bears played their starters but by the time the game started Atlanta had already clinched the #1 seed and I think it must have had some pyschological impact on the Bears players. That said, the Pack had everything to play for and the Bears D came up big. The one 4th quarter TD the Bears D gave up was a result of a couple of substitutions that likely would not have happened if the Bears were truly playing to win. Rodgers threw a 40+ yard bomb to Jennings that placed the ball on the 1 yard line and they went in from there with the game winning TD. Chris Harris and Major Wright - both safeties - were sitting out as a precaution. Manning, who is more of a strong safety and Josh Bullocks were in playing deep safeties and Manning took a bad angle on the play. It happens.

I didn't like the play calling and did not like all the hits Cutler took. Forte was gashing a pretty good Packers D. He finished with just 15 carries for 91 yards. They needed to feed him and Taylor the ball more in a close game like that. It would have helped relieve some of the pressure on Cutler.

In the end, I suspect the Bears played a fairly conservative game. It is unlikely that they really came up with a complicated game plan. Very vanilla. So it is tough to draw much from the game.

I hope the Packers win this weekend and somehow the Seahawks beat the Saints. Then the Bears would get the Hawks. I expect the NFC Championship to be Bears-Packers III. Then, special teams and the home field will carry the Bears to the Super Bowl.


deepie said...

Two best teams? Sorry, but the Falcons are the most complete team in the NFC followed very closely by the Saints. Both teams have good to very good O and D lines, solid QBs and running games and defenses that can win a championship. The Bears and Packers are good but are lacking in key categories.

The Packers exposed the Bears greatest weakness...the O-line. Jay George was pressured into 6 sacks and 2 picks, and a lousy 43.5 rating. The Bears exposed the Packers' weak running game. Both teams have unbalanced offenses because of these flaws and both will struggle against the better teams in the conference.

But I wish you good luck, Bears Fan!

Rob said...

The great thing is that we will see.

The Falcons are certainly deserving of their 1 seed, and NO is the defending champ.

But NO will struggle next week against Seattle (short week, long travel, tough crowd).

Atlanta may end up playing Green Bay. If that happens, I don't think the Falcons will advance.

It will be fun to watch.

j, k, and s's d said...

The Packers are tough but they are not good against the run and they aren't the best at running. That will hurt them in the playoffs.

The Falcons are probably the most balanced and are deserving of their #1 seed. The Saints are solid but they gamble a lot on D and their running game isn't as good as the Falcons.

Seattle is one of the toughest places to play in the league and it is a long distance away and different climate/time zone so that may play a part as well. I still expect the Saints to win but it may be a tougher game than expected.

The Pears are solid but I wouldn't say that they are the one of the top two teams in the NFC. The best part about them though is that they have had great fortune with their schedule all year. As Robs mentioned, should the Cawks win and the Packers win, the Pears will again be the beneficiaries of great fortune as they would by far have the easier game in the Divisional Round.

Every team starts at 0-0 now so we'll see what happens.

Rob said...

Getting the bye is a huge advantage. I think the NFC teams are fairly well balanced. Atlanta is the most complete and Seattle is the most flawed, but the four in the middle are fairly even and everyone - except Seattle - has as good a chance as anyone in the NFC to get to the Super Bowl.

That is why the bye is so critical. If teams beat up on each other this week, the rested teams playing at home should have an advantage that may prove to be the difference.

Rob said...

JKSD, I'm not really sure what you mean about the Bears schedule.

The Bears and Pack played pretty much the same schedule. If you are concerned about backup QBs, that hasn't really made much difference this year. Whitehurst won yesterday for Seattle. Detroit beat the Pack with their backup. Joe Webb and the Queens rolled in Philly. Colt McCoy surprised some teams.

You can only play your schedule and everyone has weeks where they play a backup. Singling out the Bears doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

deepie said...

Based on opponents' records, the Pears ended up with the 9th weakest schedule whereas the Packers had the 8th toughest schedule. The Bears were 3rd in the NFC North in '09 and benefitted by playing weaker teams in the NFC and from a more favorable home/road schedule as a result.

They are who we think they are...A pretty good, but flawed team.

Rob said...

WTF are you talking about? The Bears and Packers played largely the same schedule. They played 14 common opponents out of 16 games.

The only differences in the schedule is that the Bears played Seattle and Carolina this year and the Pack got Atlanta and Frisco.

So there was essentially one game different between the two teams. They both ended up playing 6 games against playoff teams (I am counting the fact that they played each other as 2 games against playoff opponents.

By comparison, Atlanta played 7 games against playoff teams (twice against New Orleans).

Rob said...

Let me be a little more clear. Seattle and Frisco is a wash. The difference is that the Pack played Atlanta and the Bears played Seattle.

Even if the Packers had been able to play Seattle instead of Atlanta and they won that game, the Bears still would have won the North and gotten the bye because of their superior divisional record.

j, k, and s's d said...

Robs, don't get so defensive. The Pears played the Fins with Thigpen and pretty much the rest of their second/third stringers. They got to play Stanton and Joe Webb.

The Pears handled their business for the most part. They are deserving of being in the playoffs. I don't particularly think that they are in the top two. They may get lucky and get the 'Cawks and that would be huge for them.

I do think the Bye is a big advantage as it gives time to get guys healed up and longer for them to game plan. I don't buy that the week off is too long away from football and is a disadvantage.

They will have a home game and be well rested. If they play the 'Cawks, I would expect them to win. If they draw the Saints or Eagles, it will be a much tougher game.

We'll see how it plays out.

Rob said...

If the Pack had beaten Stanton and the Lions they may have won the North. They didn't.

If Philly could have controlled Joe Webb they may have been able to earn a bye. They didn't.

Every team plays games against backups every year - that's the NFL. Pretending that the Bears were the only team that did that is ridiculous.

j, k, and s's d said...

I don't recall one team going against three different teams that were each forced to start their third string QBs. This happened in 3 out of 5 weeks for the Pears. Have you ever heard of that? Please answer directly "yes" or "no." Don't start dancing and giving me some round about answer. Just keep in plain and simple.

Rob said...

No, but I haven't spent much time thinking about it. I'm sure it is not that unusual.

On a broader note, what is your point? The Eagles played at home against two third stringers the last two weeks and lost. It didn't seem to help them.

Green Bay lost to Drew Stanton and the Lions. Didn't seem to help them.

Four of the last 9 games New England played were against backups. They played 4th stringer Tyler Thigpen this last week and lost to 3rd stringer Colt McCoy (their last loss).

I don't think it is all that unusual to play backups - including third stringers. Nor do I think it automatically results in a win. These are all good teams that lost to third stringers.

Rob said...

Now let me ask you something. How do you explain the critical losses that the Eagles and Packers took to third stringers?

Since you seem to think that playing against 3rd stringers should be an automatic win, I am curious to hear how these examples fit with your faulty hypothesis.

deepie said...

Robs...You crack me up with your "don't say bad stuff about my Bears or I'll cry" arguments. Sorry if I rubbed you the wrong way by pointing out to you that the Bears benefitted from a weaker schedule than the Packers, but it is a fact. If Frisco and Seattle are a wash, then the Bears getting Carolina whereas the Packers getting Atlanta is clearly a one game swing in the Bears' favor.

On top of that, the Bears got Philly, New England, and the Jets at home while the Packers had to play those playoff teams on the road. Like it or not, the Bears' schedule was much easier than the Packers' despite similar opponents.

The Bears did what they had to do to get the bye. They may slide into the Super Bowl as a result (although I seriously doubt they can hang with the Falcons). All I can say is, the Bears vs. the Patriots would be a lousy Super Bowl.

Rob said...

I'm not crying. Deeps, you are the one who is bitching unnecessarily. The Bears played their schedule and earned their bye.

You can try to make up whatever nonsensical excuses you want. If the Packers hadn't lost to Detroit and their 3rd string QB late in the season the North would have likely come down to the final game.

If Philly hadn't blown it's final 2 games at home to weak teams starting 3rd string QBs they would have a bye next week.

Bears took care of business. They didn't. What do you want a BCS type system to evaluate strength of schedule?

Rob said...

One other thing. No team "slides" into the Super Bowl or wins the Super Bowl for that matter. The Super Bowl is decided on the field and anyone who gets there and wins it totally deserves it.

I hope it is Bears - Pats II. A rematch of Super Bowl XX and a chance at redemption against the best QB in the NFL would be great.

deepie said...

Bitching? I'm just making a point. The fact that you refuse to believe anything I'm saying doesn't mean I'm bitching. You claimed your team is one of the two best in the NFC. If you don't want to hear why they're not, don't make such a claim based on nothing more than they won more games than the other teams.

I acknowledged that the Bears did what they had to do to get a bye. They played the games they had to play. They got to this point in part because their schedule, as a result of being the 3rd place team in their division the previous year, was favorable compared to the Packers' schedule. Don't be upset. Just hope and pray your team fares well. I'm just saying they won't.

Rob said...

Crying? "I'm just making a point" also.

What I think is funny is that if I make a point - you say I am crying. Then when I use the same logic on you and say you are bitching then you complain and cry "UNFAIR!" If you don't like it then don't pull out that "crying" B.S. Just stick to facts and keep the argument on point.

As for facts, "you are your record" is the only fact that matters in the NFL. I was right weeks ago and I am right now. You can talk about strength of schedule (which is always debatable), or playing home/away (the Bears had a better road record than home record), or whatever. But the only metric that counts is wins. Bears have them and EARNED the the NFC North title and the first round bye - other teams didn't.