The Chicago Bears are once again back on the main stage, with their home game versus the Baltimore Ravens being the national broadcast on CBS. Kickoff is at noon, and CBS is sending their A-team pairing of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. Yes, "hello friends" because Mr. Nantz "is a tradition unlike any other." I'm a fan of Simms although I know many of you are not.
It's very rare that CBS comes to Chicago because they own the AFC rights package. Yet, CBS, not to mention Nantz and Simms will make it to the Windy City for the second time on Sunday. They also called the season and home opener versus the Bengals.
The weather at Soldier Field is supposed to be unseasonably warm. Forecasts say it should be 60+ degrees around kickoff, making this game an expensive one to get into. Of course, tickets for NFL and Chicago Bears games are always a hot commodity. Remember that many sections of Soldier Field have a face value in the $2-$300 plus range. If you want to sit downstairs in the 100 level, near the 50 yard line, it'll cost you around $5-$700 a pop.
So who's favored? The Daily Lines on ESPN.com are showing the Bears as a 3 point favorite. The difference in this one could be coaching. How much do you believe in Marc Trestman? Is your Trestmania strong enough that you believe he'll make the right decisions? To his credit, it took Trestman only 24 hours to concede that he had erred in not replacing Jay Cutler sooner after initially defending his decision in his postgame press conference based on feedback from Bears’ trainers and doctors that Cutler was medically cleared to continue playing. Trestman’s contrition is a a refreshing change from his smug predecessor, Lovie Smith, who never admitted fallibility.
The 5-4 Bears will almost certainly have to overtake the 6-3 Lions in the standings to win the division, given that the Lions have a season sweep and the tie-breaker. Following Sunday’s defeat, the Bears are now also a full game behind the Carolina Panthers for one of the two NFC wild card berths.
Prediction: Chicago Bears 24, Baltimore Ravens 21
Catch me Fridays at 7:30 AM Central talking Bears for WAOR Michiana, NBC Sports Radio and Tuesdays at 10:30 AM Central talking Illinois and Northwestern for KOZN Omaha, Fox Sports Radio
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. He’s also an analyst for multiple news talk radio stations across the world; with regular weekly segments on NBC and Fox Sports Radio. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)
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