Please, tell me more about how the Chicago Bears are going to win 11 games, "Bare minimum."
The 2013 NFL schedule came out on Thursday, and I know you've dissected it. The two home games to open the year, the four (as it currently stands) primetime games and the perfectly timed Week-8 bye that has the Bears in action just once in 24 days—exactly the kind of rejuvenating rest those aging legs on defense will be calling for in the middle of a long regular season that's been known to wither upon the restless and the weary.
You've been through it all, and having been blessed with amazing foresight—in reference to both what the Bears will be and what the rest of the National Football League will invariably be, despite their rosters still taking shape—you "see" 11 wins on the docket. It's not a prediction, it's a proclamation. It was waltzed down Mt. Goodell, credence from the Football Gods themselves.
Forget the fact that every GM employee in Detroit sees nine or 10 wins for the Lions, every dairy farmer in Wisconsin sees 13 for the Packers and every ... umm ... ice fisherman (?) in Minnesota sees 10 for the Vikings. You've gone through game-by-game, and you've seen it all unfold. It goes a little something like this:
Cincinnati Bengals at home: Win.
They're young and talented, they've made two straight playoff appearances and Marvin Lewis has finally brought the smothering defense he promised to the Queen City, but you will always remember them as the lowly, Jeff Blake-quarterbacked Bengals of yesteryear.
Minnesota Vikings at home: Pshh ... Win.
Sure Adrian Peterson ran for a billion yards last year, but half of those came against the Packers. Besides, Christian Ponder is still their quarterback and Christian Ponder is like Jeff Blake with a wife you saw on ESPN once.
Pittsburgh Steelers on the road: Win.
The Mike Tomlin gimmick (hahaha) has run its course. The Steelers are nearly as old as they look. Married Ben Roethlisberger doesn't have the same drive (nor the libido) as single Ben Roethlisberger. He's also soft. Be waiting by your phone on the Monday morning after this one, Charlie Batch.
Detroit Lions on the road: C'mon.
I mean, seriously, c'mon.
New Orleans Saints at home: Win.
After setting NFL records for passing yards (5,476) and completion percentage (71.2%) in 2011, Drew Brees threw for a pedestrian 5,177 yards and completed just 63% of his passes in 2012, proof that, not only is he getting old, he's letting that $100 million contract go to his head.
New York Giants at home: Win.
It's on a Thursday night and it's after a game where Brees (even in his decrepit state) will certainly tax the Bears D, but they share a city with the Jets and suck by proximity.
Washington Redskins at home: RGIII.
If he's back, you acknowledge that he'll run for at least 250 yards and throw for 400 on this admittedly seasoned defense. If not, chock up another W for Daaaa Bears.
Bye week: Win.
If you're not first you're last, but if you don't play anybody at all, you're technically first.
Green Bay Packers on the road: Okay, you'll be honest. It's probably a loss.
Marc Trestman's gang certainly won't cower like Lovie's did in Northern Wisconsin, but you don't want anyone to think you're being ridiculous, so you'll acknowledge that the Packers are tough to deal with at their place, especially on Monday Night Football. You won't be surprised if they give them a run, though.
Lions ... at home this time: For real?
Okay, so you struggled with them both times last year, but you still won. And they're still the Lions.
Baltimore Ravens at home: Tough W.
The defending champs come to Soldier Field and you're a bit nervous here, but you're following your gut and it never leads you astray (with the exception of an occasional polish sausage-induced ailment). They lost Ray Lewis who was the heart and soul of their defense. You lost Brian Urlacher who was dragging your defense down. Of course there's no correlation whatsoever, and no matter what they say you're not a hypocrite for pretending that the sentiment of losing a leader affects two teams differently.
St. Louis Rams on the road: Win.
Where the Steelers were old, the Rams are just too young. You acknowledge this young, up-and-coming team in their own building as a potential trap, but you've got faith.
Vikings on the road: Letdown loss.
If you're gonna be honest with yourself, you know it's the NFL and that team's inevitably lose games they probably shouldn't. Adrian Peterson is tough to stop and that silly dome is just so damn loud.
Dallas Cowboys at home: Win.
How ‘bout them Cowboys? Who the hell proclaimed them America's Team, anyways? Monday Night Football in Soldier Field won't bode well for Jerry's boys.
Cleveland Brown on the road: Win.
Cleveland: A poor man's version of Detroit. See: Lions blurbs.
Philadelphia Eagles on the road: Win.
We'll wait and see what Chip Kelly's offense looks like before we set this bad boy in stone, but you're sure the read-option can't possibly be successful in the NFL, right? Right?
Packers at home: Win.
This is a new era, and thus, the dawning of a new day. Mike McCarthy no longer walks the streets of Chicago like some long-lost friend. Marc Trestman will see to that, and with an improved offensive line Jay Cutler will finally break out of his rut against The Pack.
I get it. You've obviously done well over 20 minutes of exhaustive research. You've got the Bears going either 14-2 or 13-3, but in the interest of not having me make weird faces at you, you'll settle on 11-5--enough to make the playoffs and perhaps enough to steal the NFC North. I'll pretend like I actually know what the hell I'm talking about and look up from my beer long enough to tell you I like them to win 9 or 10 and squeeze into the playoffs because I'm not an ass ... at least not to your face.
We'll both go on about our night.
Later on, I'll meet a Packers fan who has us down for six wins but tells me he likes us for eight to be polite. I'll argue, also politely, my theory of 9 or 10 wins, and we'll both go on our merry ways.
I only wish you two could meet. Then I'd actually get something out of NFL schedule week.
Besides, you know ... the 2013 NFL schedule.
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Filed under: Schedule