Your 3-1 2009 Chicago Bears
Why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?
- I always like the Chicago Bears.
- The defense held the Falcons' run game in check last years, harassing Michael Turner for only fifty-four yards on twenty-five carries. If they do the same Sunday night, the Falcons will be unable to sustain lengthy drives and control the pace of play. When teams have left the Bears alive late, the Bears have capitalized.
- Two major points on the pass defense. (1) Charles Tillman needs to shadow the opponent's number one receiver all over the field moving forward and that means Roddy White. Tillman may allow his man to make the catch but his sure-tackling will prevent the eleven-yard first down from becoming a forty-yard touchdown. (2) The Bears know that one of Brian Urlacher's strengths was defending the deep middle of the field and that Tony Gonzalez has built a Hall of Fame resume in that area. If the Bears allow him to dominate the game, everyone should be fired.
- Special teams. And it's not even close. Maynard is off to the best start of his career, Gould is automatic, and the return game - while not scoring - is the best in football. Great specials can neutralize a good club on the road and that's what the Bears have.
- Jay Cutler doesn't want to hear about Kyle Orton. Matt Forte doesn't want to hear about Cedric Benson. Hester/Bennett/Knox don't want to hear about Terrell Owens. I expect our offense - for once - to play Sunday night with a chip on its shoulder. I expect prolonged drives and third-down conversions. I expect points. Lots of points.
- Because not one man on the 2008 roster should forget what happened in Atlanta last October. The coaching staff and defense embarrassed themselves, wasting a brilliant comeback drive from Orton and the boys. That game - those final 46 seconds - were the definitive moment of a painfully inconsistent season. Redemption is not always available at the fix-ins bar. Sunday night it is.
Chicago Bears 38, Atlanta Falcons 30