Odds & Ends & THE PICKS!

Three links of interest...

(1) I had zero knowledge of Daryl Drake's impact on the receiving career of Hines Ward but kudos to Brad Biggs for the information.  Ward is the most well-rounded receiver in the sport and this bodes nicely for Drake's ability to develop Hester, Bennett and Knox.   

(2) Has any single play had the roster fallout of Greg Jennings' game-winning touchdown reception on Sunday night?  Nathan Vasher was demoted (click that link) and now Kevin Payne has lost his job at free safety, as Danieal Manning will fill the position we all expected him to fill.  This feels like a "lesson benching" and I still believe Kevin Payne has a sterling future in the Bears' secondary.

(3) Lindsey Willhite breaks down the Packers' rush scheme in the Daily Herald, putting a particular focus on our struggles on the offensive line.  If the Bears don't block the Steelers, the Bears won't beat the Steelers.    
Now onto the picks for Week Two after a disappointing 1-2 opening week...

WASHINGTON -10 over St. Louis
Washington is not ten points better than anybody but I made the mistake of treating myself to a mid-week viewing of the Rams' dreadful performance against the Seattle Seahawks.  St. Louis, especially on defense, is a miserable team and I'd argue they have a more difficult rebuilding project than the 0-16 Lions.  Jason Campbell chews up that secondary with a steady diet of Sanatana Moss and sets up a boring fourth quarter.  Can the Rams put up 14?  I don't see how but I'll give them a garbage time touchdown.  Redskins, 27, Rams 13 

BALTIMORE +3.5 over San Diego
Four things that would worry me if I were Norv Turner.  (1) The Ravens defense has to be enraged by the public perception that they allowed Kansas City to score 24 points.  Most of the scoring from the Chiefs came off of defense and specials.  (2) If Jeff Garcia were the starting quarterback of the Raiders on Monday night, SD would be 0-1.  (3) The pass protection for San Diego was pretty atrocious in Oakland.  That was Oakland.  This is Baltimore.  (4) And against Baltimore, that Darren Sproles underneath stuff just won't fly with EdRay patrolling the middle of the field.  Ravens 33, Chargers 20

Indianapolis -3 over MIAMI

For years, defenses couldn't double-cover a Colts wideout.  Double Wayne, Harrison kills you.  Double Harrison, Wayne kills you.  That ain't the new-look Colts; learning to control the ball and win close ones played in the 20s.  Miami didn't turn the ball over at all in 2008 and opened 2009 by wrapping it up four times and leaving it under Atlanta's Christmas tree.  Colts 23, Dolphins 16  


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  • Starting next week, I'll be accompanying my gave preview with THE VOICE OF REASON - who'll pick against us.

    Here's this week's.

    Jay Cutler went 17-36 with four picks against a Green Bay defense that isn't that much improved from last season, if at all. Last year, the Packers' D ranked overall: 22nd in points allowed, 20th in yards allowed per game, 26th against the run. Their defense was so bad they hired a new defensive coordinator in the off-season, as well as spent their two first round picks on defenders (DT B.J. Raji, OLB Clay Mathews). Raji is out with an injury, and Mathews barely played in his first NFL game. Aside from these two guys, and free agent pick-up Anthony Smith, this is the same exact defensive personnel. My point is this Packers defense isn't good. And Cutler failed to complete 50 percent of his passes against this team? What's he going to do against the best defensive unit in the league?

    Making matters worse is the reality the Bears have the worst receiving corps in the league. When Devin Hester is your number one receiver, you have problems. Johnny Knox(ville)--might as well be, what does it matter?--Earl Bennett and Greg Olsen form the rest of the bunch. Wow. Really, take Cutler's name off of this roster and you're looking at one of the least talented offensive depth charts in the league. Matt Forte is good, but he's not taking anyone by surprise this year. He caught 63 balls last season but meanwhile was targeted only once last week. No doubt about it, the Bears are going to have trouble scoring touchdowns.

    Even without Urlacher, the Bears front seven is strong enough to completely shut down Willie Parker/Rashard Mendenhall (which isn't saying too much). But stopping the opposing run game has never been a Bears weakness. Their problem is stopping the pass. Ben Roethlisberger torched a good Titans defense last week for 363 yards, and completed 77% of his pass attempts (43).

    The only way I see the Bears beating the Steelers is if (a) the defense really puts the pressure on Ben-Ro and forces some mistakes, AND (b) Cutler is an efficient game manager, utilizes the dump-off to Forte religiously, and doesn't turn the ball over. I can see the Bears doing one of two, not both.

    My prediction: Steelers 20, Bears 9. Yes, that's my final answer.

  • In reply to JeffHughes:

    Maybe starting next week you should do that BEFORE you give reasons why the Bears will win, because I want to cry now.

  • In reply to JeffHughes:

    I think the Bears are winning Sunday. But I like that "the voice of reason" is going to help balance to projection part of the week.

  • In reply to JeffHughes:


  • In reply to JeffHughes:

    The Voice makes me nervous...

  • In reply to JeffHughes:

    holy shit what a blast from the past on the NFL network. Bear vs Steelers from 1995. Kramer, Jeff Graham, Big Cat, Conway vs. Greg Lloyd, Greene and the Blitzburgh defense.

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    A little Powers whiskey, the house to myself for once and NFL classic games on the 50 inch. Could Friday night for a married guy get any better?

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    Yeah, I'm recording it to watch after the wife and kid go to bed. Me, a 6-er of Boulevard Wheat and a flashback to Wanny strolling the sidelines. Pretty cool.

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    Alot to say about this '95 game on NFL network right now. I was a sophmore in college and worked security(that's right, Andy Fuckin' Frain) at Soldier Field this game and several others those 4 years. That aside, I can't help but make some startling comparisons to those teams and the ones that will face eachother on Sunday:
    1. The '95 Bears don't have nearly as much talent offensively or defensively that we have RIGHT NOW.
    2. That's the fuckin' BLITZBURGH defense that our '95 team straight shredded. Lloyd, Green, Kirkland, Brown, etc. Kramer stayed upright and crushed them through the air, and Salaam did his work admirably on the ground.
    3. That '95 team played with HEART and INTENSITY. The likes of which I haven't seen from DA BEARS of more recent times. Minter, Zorich, Flannigan, Thiery, Carrier, Carter and the rest flying to the ball and using sheer will to make the play.
    4. The defense the Steelers bring in to Soldier Field on Sunday is alot like what they used to have, MINUS THEIR ALL WORLD CENTER-FIELDER!! If Jay and the boys can't do damage vertically, I'll be shocked.

    Johnny, glad you and I are watching the classic, hope you're seeing and feeling the same things I am. I'll be happier if Lovie is showing our guys this film tonight, or Saturday, because I'm about ready to run through a fuckin' wall right now off the effort I'm seeing. BEAR THE FUCK DOWN!!!!!!

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    It scary to watch this game and draw the parallels. The Bears up late in the fourth quarter watching the Chicago secondary get shredded with downfield passes and a late touchdown to tie it. I can see the same scenario on Sunday.

    Anyone notice in that game a backup middle linebacker with #92 had the game of his career, an interception returned for a touchdown? Here is to #92 having the game of his career Sunday!

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    Watching Curtis Conway drop multiple passes and blow the game was hard to watch.

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    still a great game and great effort. The dropped balls that plague this franchise make my blood boil. Kramer couldn't have placed that ball to Conway any better. Barry Minter was a beast. I hope that mojo carries forward for HH on Sunday. I can take a loss with that kind of effort behind it. Those happen. I can't take getting beat physically and mentally and not being in the fight. HEART and INTENSITY, that will win the game on Sunday. (along with lasers from Cutler to Hester and Knox, and less passes to the guys in the black helmets).

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    How does Cutler get the blame ? He had no offensive line in the first half and receivers that didn't know what to do when the play broke down ?! He did great given the lack of blocking and the bunch of pussies he has for receivers (save for Hester). We're in for a long day against the Steelers, but so is Worthlessberger don't forget, his line is just as bad. It's not like the Steelers have some kind of awesome offense that is going to kill us. Our defense is better than their offense, their defense is better than our offense. So it will come down to special teams and who makes the fewer mistakes. We're at home so maybe that will be the difference ... Bears 13-10 or 20-17

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    And to say that the Packer's defense isn't good is just a dumb thing to say. They shut down the Matt Forte show and the man had 25 carries, kept applying pressure, have good linebackers and a good secondary. The argument that if the Bears can't block the Steelers than the Steelers win has a corollary - if the Steelers can't block the Bears the Bears win ? It's not as simple as that. We couldn't block the Packers, they couldn't block us. It comes down to who gets the turnovers, like it always does.

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    Big O-Pace will have his hands full trying to contain Brett Keisel & James Harrison on left side of line. That battle does not favor Bears at all. Cutler will be getting hit alot in this one. Roll out right with moving pocket and pray. Big break not having to face Troy P. Devin Hester and Johnny Knox should be able to get deep on this bunch as Pitt loves to blitz. Crowd must be a factor for us to be in it. A few more injuries and we could be looking at a long season. Pitt lays hard hits all around so someone will be lost Sunday. Just hope it's not key player on Bears. We don't have much to instill fear in opponents. Play calling remains awful. Advice? Run it right at left side Keisel/Harrison all game. Earn the check Orlando. Show us you can still dominate at 34.

  • Big Ben did a lot of his 'torching" when the Titans inexplicably kept coming at him with only 3 pass rushers.

    Nevertheless, I concur with your A + B formula for a BEars victory.

    I doubt this game was penciled in as a W on a lot of peoples schedules. Let's steal one really get the taste of of week one out of our mouths.

    I think Jay got swept up in Bear-Packer fervor and tried to do too much. He need to avoid "Home Opener Fervor" and stay within himself.

    Wale, keep that salary drive going and RING BEG BEN'S CHIMES!

    My prediction? Your guess is as good as mine.

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