Friday, September 24, 2010

Bears 2010 - Week 3 Preview: Good Cut/Bad Cut? by Anil P.

The Chicago Bears desire to break out of their three year playoff drought is off to a solid 2-0 start. The last time the Bears started this well was 2006 when they went on to became NFC Champions. That's right, two wins and we're already talking about the Halas Trophy coming back home. Nevermind these two wins were a result of a horrible call against Calvin Johnson and an imploding Cowboys team, this team is going back to the Super Bowl! Cutler is the highest rated QB in the NFL and our Bears have the best passing attack in the NFL thanks to Mad Mike. Enjoy Martz while you can because the Tribune already has Mike gone after one season already. With all that said, the reality of the NFL will sink in after this weekend and Chicago will find that the only thing secured is that the Bears will finish this season no worse than 3-13. We have one more win with the annual visit to Detroit after all. In all seriousness I try to temper my emotions but it is Packer Week and the only thing better than Packer Week is Packer Week leading up to MNF.

Aaron Rodgers (the love child of former Creed lead singer Scott Stapp and actor/writer from The Office B.J. Novak) and the Green Bay Packers (2-0) pay a visit to Chicago Monday night and we can all look forward to the Green Bay fans migrating down. Packers were the chic pic to go to Dallas in February this preseason and have backed up their hype with two wins this season and in impressive fashion. Green Bay has the 3rd highest scoring average at 30.5 ppg and only allowed 13.5 ppg as well. While losing Ryan Grant will hurt their ground game, they were able to lean on the back of Rodgers for most of their offensive production. Some injuries on their offensive line at LT is a weakness the Bears need to take advantage of.


Speaking of exploiting weaknesses on the offensive line

Last week the Bears O-Line was able to adapt to losing Chris Williams and temper pressure in Week 2 against Dallas and DeMarcus Ware. This week they will be tested again as Green Bay employs their own 3-4 scheme and has an outstanding OLB in Clay Matthews as well. Matthews will undoubtably lineup opposite both tackles to exploit both Omiyale and Shaffer. This is the third straight week a conversation of weakness surrounds the Bears offensive line but take comfort because the Packers have issues themselves. Chad Clifton is questionable this week with his troublesome knees and the Pack are inserting their first round pick at LT in Bryan Bulaga. Anything less than a mauling on the blind side by Peppers, Anderson or Idonjie isn't acceptable. Lovie brings up how the fourth phase is so critical in the fans. If the fans are in the game, Soldier Field should hopefully provide some false starts by the rookie LT.

Keep them one-dimensional

Bears are #1 against stopping the run and should remain their with Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn in the backfield. As prolific of a passing attack the Packers have, they do employ a balanced offense in terms of attempts. Currently the Packers are right at 50/50 in terms of pass and rushing attempts (a good amount of the 10 rushing attempts Rodgers has can be on broken pass plays). With the weapons of Driver, Jennings, Jones and Finley the Bears secondary will rely on the front four to sustain constant pressure. The Bears were a frequent blitzing team last season. With the acquisition of Peppers at DE and Marinelli calling the plays, blitzing has fallen down dramatically and with good success. According to ESPN Status & Information, the Bears blitzed 30% of the time in Week 1 and 17.6% of the time in Week 2. The Bears' front is more than holding its own against the run, having allowed an NFL low 56 rushing yards. And although they have only two sacks in two games, the Bears have made up for it with six takeaways and are excelling with an extra man or two devoted to coverage.

Pretend it's a Sunday afternoon

Jay Cutler didn't exactly have tremendous outings last year under the lights. In five night games he had passer ratings of 43.2, 79.6, 33.6, 63.2 and 108.4 with a combined 8 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and most importantly a 1-4 record. This season the Bears success offensively has been due large in part to Cutler's pocket presence and his ability to either get the ball out of his hands quickly and/or scramble out of the pocket. For whatever reason #6 tends to have a brain cramp and his form goes from future HOF to a certain mental midget that used to QB the club. Which Cutler shows up this night will be a huge deciding factor in the Bears outcome.

Efficiency and Execution

Bears were a horrible 1-11 on 3rd down conversions last week. Their dependability on the big play has sustained them so far this season. In fact their lone 3rd down conversion against the Cowboys was a 59-yard completion to Johnny Knox on a 3rd and 15 in the 2nd quarter. One of the ways to make sure Aaron Rodgers doesn't win the game is to make sure he doesn't have the ball for too much time. Bears will need to sustain some longer drives in order to win time of possession. Forte will need to have a better week than his total season output of 79 yards. Once again, the o-line will need to step up.

Do I know Football more than the person I’m related to by marriage and Madden 11?

Current Season Series is:
Pants: 2-0
Skirts: 1-1
Pixels: 0-2

Week 3 is Packers @ Bears; Vegas currently has the spread at -3 for the Green and Piss

Her Pick: Bears to win (more than three)
Her Reason: Not sure why, I just have a hunch...perhaps cuz the packers blow.

Madden Simulation has Green Bay dominating 23-6

I currently don't know if I should view this Bears team as an opportunistic overachieving team that lucked out in circumstance or dominate defense with a Pro Bowl QB as there are stats and film to point either way. I remain optimistic about their chances but I have to believe Green Bay is at a slightly better point in the season right now as an organization. Rodgers is a veteran under this offensive scheme while Cutler is on game three. While I don't believe in moral victories, I do think if the Bears are close with the Packers this can be viewed as successful progress to march back into the playoffs by the coaching staff. I currently see Green Bay winning this one 21-20 with the Bears beating the spread.

Bear Down! Recap on Tuesday.

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