Friday, December 07, 2012

Chicago Bears Thoughts

After a great 7-1 start, the Bears have stumbled and are now 8-4. They still have a two game lead in the wild card race with 4 to go, so I am not too worried about missing the playoffs (at least not at this point). However, they are going to have to play better - particularly offensively - if they are going to be a serious challenger for the Super Bowl.

The D is a bit banged up, but I expect to have the D intact going into the playoffs (assuming they make it). My sense is that their offensive line is actually better than it was 3 weeks ago. They played well against Minnesota and Seattle the last two weeks - both these teams have good defensive fronts. Brandon Marshall is a beast, but they need a complementary receiver to step up. Alshon Jeffery will be back for the playoffs, so that will make a difference. Forte and Bush are fine at running back. Cutler is solid at the QB position. But somehow it just hasn't all come together yet.

The Bears need a win this week on the road in Minnesota. But beyond just winning I'd like to see some better offensive production that builds into more momentum down the stretch.


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

The Bears started a crisp 4-0 at home this season, but have dropped two of their past three, losing to Houston and Seattle, and beating Minnesota. They play three of their last four games on the road, where they're 3-2, but any way you cut it, Chicago's easy schedule through Week 13 raises questions about the quality of its 8-4 record. The Bears' road wins were at Dallas, Jacksonville and Tennessee. Its road losses? At Green Bay and San Francisco. See a pattern there?

Overall, Chicago is just 1-4 this season against teams that currently hold a playoff seed, and that lone win was in Week 1 at home against the Colts, before Indianapolis became the team that looks destined for an AFC wild-card berth. That's not the kind of track record that inspires confidence in January.

The Bears fattened up this season on weaker teams, and its ridiculous run of defensive touchdowns (seven) and takeaways in the season's first half led to a sterling 7-1 mark at the break. But it also tended to obscure the fact that Chicago's offense is quite mediocre outside the Cutler-to-Brandon Marshall connection.

The Bears offense begins the season's final push ranked 30th overall in yards (304 per game), 31st in passing yards (181.2), and 10th in rushing (122.8). From week to week, the Bears' offensive consistency has been lacking, and the defense can't escape blame for allowing Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson to drive 97 yards for the go-ahead score late in regulation, and then 80 yards for the victory in overtime. Now that the takeaways have slowed for Chicago's defense, the Bears look considerably more beatable.

It's a key game for the Pears and Viqueens. As a Skins fan, I am hoping for the Pears. Hopefully they won't let me down two weeks in a row.