We're moving the weekly Bears game pick to Thursday morning on a permanent basis. It allows a solid day for debating the upcoming week's ballgame and lets me use Friday and Saturday to update whatever news might be pertinent. Off we go...
- I always like the Chicago Bears.
- There is no possible way Ron Turner and the offensive staff are expecting to successfully block the best pass rush in the game. With Matt Forte and Greg Olsen as superior underneath options, one hopes that we'll see an extensive array of checkdowns and screens to keep the linebackers off the attack.
- One area in which the Bears' passing game did not struggle Sunday night was on go routes down the sidelines and - without Troy Polamalu - that is where the Steelers defense must be attacked. Jay Cutler, even on an off night, had an un-Bears like six plays of over 20 yards.
- The Steelers will move the ball down the field but their inability to find a consistent run game will lead to settling for field goals. I think they kick 4.
- Adewale Ogunleye continues his march to one last big-time contract by getting Big Ben early and Lovie mixes in some well-times blitzes late to keep the Steelers punting.
- Brad Maynard was terrific last week and Robbie Gould is the best around. In a game like this, they'll make the difference.
- Final reason: the fans. I love Chicago Bears fans but they often have a penchant for being whiny boo-hounds, more interested in misery than victory. That changes Sunday. The fans must come out and inspire this club with unabashed confidence in the quarterback and support for the new linebacking corps. Let this team know that no amount of Rick Morrissey nonsense and Mike Martz hypocrisy will quell your enthusiasm for a good football team.
Chicago Bears 20, Pittsburgh Steelers 19