Thursday, September 21, 2006

Da Bears, Dey Are Da Overrated

As I’m sure you know, Da Bears are overrated. I think we can safely say that, despite their 2-0 record, this team is not 1985 part deux, and I doubt many people outside of Chicago are going to argue that point. Their first two opponents were the Packers, led by Captain Interception, and the Lions, led by RoyIt was stupid how close we were to putting 40 points on the board” Williams. Both of those teams are awful. Let me say that again—The Lions and Packers are AWFUL. Blowing them out is something that good teams should do. The thing about playing bad teams, however, is that the final scores don’t tell you as much about the quality of a team as does the way that that team won. So let’s break down how Da Bears have played while cruising to their 2-0 record.

1) Da Bears have forced six turnovers so far this year. Captain INT continued his march to overtake George Blanda in the opener, throwing two picks, and his teammate Noah Herron showed why the Milli Vanilli braids that Packers’ players are always sporting are not conducive to success when he coughed up a fumble. Against the Lions, the Bears recovered three fumbles. The Vikings, thankfully, are unlikely to cough the ball up anywhere near as much, with Brad Johnson under center and Chester Taylor (only 8 fumbles in 539 touches) getting most of the carries.

2) They are having trouble with the run on both sides of the ball, only averaging 2.8 yards per carry, while allowing 4.0 yards per carry. Now, these stats should be taken with a grain of salt, as Da Bears opponents have been forced to the air after falling behind (only 37 total rushes), and have been able to stack their defenses against the run when the Bears were running out the clock. That being said, 2.8 yards per carry is pretty bad--it's the fifth lowest average in the NFL.

3) Most of the yardage Da Bears have gained has been through the air. They’ve basically been able to throw the ball at will, averaging 273 yards per game. Rex Grossman has been great so far this year. He’s also never played a full game at the Metrodome (If I were a Bear’s fan, I’d be worried, since the last time Grossman played the third game of a season at the Dome, he left the field on a cart). Heck, he’s never played more than three games in a season. And no matter how good their passing game looked, all of those yards were gained at the expense of the Packers and Lions’ secondaries.

4) The vaunted defense of Da Bears has completely shut down their opponents’ passing game, only allowing 181.5 yards per game. This is even more impressive when you consider that the Lions and Packers threw the ball a lot. Then again, how impressive is shutting down a passing attack led by an erratic, over the hill gun slinger so desperate for receivers that his team signed a drunk to be their number one option? And I know the Lions spent all their first round picks in the last decade on wide receivers, but that doesn’t mean they’re any good. Not to mention that Jon Kitna and his 75.5 QB rating was trying to throw them the ball. And yes, I know that both teams would have carved up previous Vikings’ secondaries—that’s not the point.

So what does this all mean? It means that the Vikings match up well with Da Bears. They don’t turn the ball over, are committed to and successful with the run, have a good, veteran secondary, and a passinng attack that's good enough to keep Da Bears from stacking the line of scrimmage. Is it going to be enough for them to take the lead in the NFC North? Once again, my optimistic nature says yes—the Vikings will win on Sunday, 17-13.

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