Season Starts Sunday

You can't learn anything from the first quarter of the season.  Nothing.  Zero.  The Baltimore Ravens were the best team in football after three meaningless wins.  Patriots.  Loss.  Bengals.  Loss.  The New York Giants are currently the cream of the crop, having beaten the crappy Redskins, bad Cowboys, awful Bucs, piss poor Chiefs and beyond-miserable Raiders.  Minnesota is riding high at 5-0 as well, with their win at San Francisco suddenly look far-less impressive.

The truth is we don't know now.  But we start knowing soon.  And for the Chicago Bears...real soon.  I'd always thought the Atlanta game would be the first real litmus test of the 2009 season (I picked them to the conference's number one seed) but I never suspected that it'd be followed by a similarly daunting task in Cincinnati.  It is.  If the Bears split these next two, they should be able to do enough down the stretch to keep themselves in the hunt.  Win both and they could be en route to something.  (Losing both makes 8-8 a grim reality.)

It starts with Atlanta.  Against a San Francisco defense that Tony Siragusa said reminded him of his 2000 Super Bowl Ravens (I couldn't believe he said it either), Ryan/Turner/White put up almost five hundred yards of total offense in a 45-10 shellacking.  They run it.  They throw it.  They block it.  They do all three well.  If the Bears can go on the road and beat these Falcons, it'll be their first real accomplishment of the 2009 season.

And the Bears need only look at the tape of yesterday's game against the 49ers to understand what will happen if they turn in one of their trademark mail-in-job first halves against Atlanta.  Points.  Piles of them.  Quickly.    

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  • First!- whew, it's been a while. Hope you are all well. Jeff-I was surprised by the Falcons and sad that the 49er's looked shocked/stunned by the way the couldn't get their crap together. Too bad. (it's Megan...now Meggles)

  • Minor correction, Jeff. The Vikes (barely) beat the 49ers in the Roller Dome, so that win looks even LESS impressive.

    I say it over and over again. The NFL is SUCH a week to week proposition. An unexpected loss or two, a key player goes down to injury and the league's landscape changes, dramatically, so it doesn't pay to look too far into the future.

    Last week, the 49ers looked like a force to be reckoned with.
    This week they get humiliated in their own building.

    Your analysis of the Vikings and Giants success is dead on.
    I did not see the Ram-Vikings game but it looks like the stumbling Rams, with their back-up QB were able to move the ball on the, supposedly, rock solid Minnesota defense.

    My concern? How good is our offensive line. Maybe "good" is being too optimistic. May I should substitute "adequate".

    Next up: At Atlanta on Football Night In America. The Sunday Night game has displaced Monday Night Football as THE game of the week now. The Bears owe us for last year's debacle when they were done in by (lack of) defense, poor special teams play and poor coaching decisions. John Abraham is probably bragging to teammates about his plans to "Pick up the PACE" of his sacks this season when he sees the Bears. Michael Turner visited the 49er endzone 3 times yesterday and just missed gaining 100 yards. The Bears stuffed Mr. Turner (23 yards or so?) last year but couldn't contain Jerrious Norwood on kick returns leading to the DISASTROUS decision to squib kick at the end of a game that is still all too fresh in our minds.

    The O-Line must give Cutler time to throw and make the running game viable so the Falcons have to respect Jay's outstanding play-action ability. Conversely, the Bear Defense MUST know they owe Matt Flynn a few close encounters with the Georgia Dome turf from 2008.

    "53 dropbacks with ZERO sacks"

    should be posted on the dressing room wall, in case any Bear defenders don't recall what the Atlanta passing game was able to accomplish in last year's game.

    Down the line, I believe Cincinnatti currently has the league's leading sacker and the spectre of White Trash looms large on the horizon. Jared Allen added a 53 yard fubmble return TD to his glowing 2009 resmue yesterday.

    More and more, at least to me, continued success this season hinges heavily upon the play of the offensive line.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Al, are you a huge LSU fan? I only ask because twice you've mentioned Matt Flynn instead of Matt Ryan as the Falcon's QB. This isn't a dig, I just find it funny. Don't be afraid to show your LSU colors. Geaux Tigers!

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Not an LSU backer. My bad, Matty. Just old enough to be susceptible to frequent brain cramps. I once did a diatribe on Mike Holmgren and kept calling him Paul Holmgren, the former excellent Philly Flyer defenseman.

    Matt Flynn is in Cheeseland backing up Rogers, No?

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Leave a comment...

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    I'd like to follow up and Ghost's excellent point, if I may.

    There ARE LOT of BAAAD teams this year. IS it me or does it feel like MORE than usual?

    You would have to be NOSTRADAMUS to have known that Denver would be 5-0 and Tennessee would be 0-5 at this point.

    To paraphrase Elizabeth Barrett Browning about the NFL:

    "How we we stink? Let me count the ways.

    1) The Raiders: Hopeless. This franchise couldn't be worse off if it were TRYING to be. Tom Cable could be getting a love note, in the form of an arrest warrent , from the Napa Valley D.A. at any time.

    2) The Bucs: Dazed and confused.

    Note: Can you believe these 2 teams were in the Super Bowl 6 years ago?

    3) The Rams: Completely lost.

    4) The Chiefs: Slightly better than their 0-5 record would indicate? Or not.

    Say, what is UP with the State of Missouri these days? The Chefs, Lambs, Cardinals and Royals. The EPA will be calling in HAZMAT teams any day now.

    5) Cleveland: Your QB goes 2 for 17 for 30 yards. If that 6-3 win with were a fish, the game warden would make you throw it back.

    6) Buffalo: Gave one away to New England to set the tone for this season. Now you lose 6-3 to the BROWNS for crissake!? Diagnosis? Dick Jauron disease. Keep it up, Bills, and you won't have to SNEAK out of town like the Colts once did in Baltimore. The Buffalo fans will line up to HELP you move.

    7) The 'Skins: Vastly over-rated because they happen to play in one of ESPN's favorite divisions, the vastly over-rated NFC East.
    2 wins by virture of playing other above them teams on this list

    8) The Titans: Jeff Fisher is 0-5. Jeff Fisher?!

    9) Carolina: Whoopee, a win! At last! Yeah, BARELY!
    Once again, only because it was a team on this list.

    10) The Lions: I think Detroit is finally moving in the right direction after amputating the dead limb that was Matt Millen.
    BUT..., yet again, your only win is against a team on this least.
    Plus, your 2 young stars, Stafford And C.Johnson are hurting.

    Did I miss anybody? Better hope not, NFL, because that is 10 of 32 franchises or better than 30% of your teams. 1 shy of ONE-THIRD!

    Since a lot of these franchises seem to be "LOST IN SPACE",
    it seems only appropriate to sign off with:

    "Danger, Will Robinson!"

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    sir you forgot a couple:

    11) Cowboys - funny aside: my friend and I made a bet saying that the our respective teams (Him - Cowboys; Me - Did you even have to ask) will have better records than each other. Looks like he got the shit-end of that stick-o-rama. Just watch an entire Cowgirl game to see what i mean

    12) The Fish - Pennington out for the season (and possibly career), Henne is not that good (which will be exposed tonight), and the wildcat is nothing but a wild-joke (1-3 record coming into tonight). Something ugly is brewing in the city w/ all the "beautiful" people

    13) Jags - to be honest, idk what the hell is going on down there. I like Del Rio, Garrard, & MJD, but they are NOT getting it done on the field (after getting BLOWN UP 41-0). the fact that they're tied for 2nd with the Texans at 2-3 should speak volumes.

    almost made it to half (passed up on the Chargers since it's their bye), but if they don't contribute something worthwile next week, they're #14

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    oops.

    Hey Jeff, It sounds like the Voice of (t)reason has been whispering in your ear way to often.

  • Headin to the atl on friday catching ga tech va tech on sat then da bears on sunday praying we force turnovers early or stop them 3 and out early so we can start fast we need to jump hard and early so it will make my damn weekend BEAR Down America Bear Down!!!

  • Welcome back Megan.

    Anyone up for discussing the surprising 5-0 start for Kyle Orton and his Broncos?

  • In reply to Shady:

    1. Good D in Denver
    2. McD calling good short passes for Orton.
    3. Orton making those short passes.
    4. Orton also is trusting his receivers to make more plays, especially The Beast Brandon Marshall. On 1-on-1 coverage Orton gets the green light.

  • In reply to Shady:

    I believe the games against the Falcons and the Bengals are very important to the outcome of the season. However, they may not be as dramatic as they are being made out to be.

    Quite frankly, the NFL this year is bad, very bad. I don't know what it is but right now there are 17 teams with a .500 record or lower. If the Bears lose these games and go 9-7 or 10-6 down the stretch they still have an excellent shot for the playoffs. They're cheif competetor for wildcard slots at this time are the Falcons and Eagles (both of whom we play during the regular season). So beating Atlanta is hugely important in that respect.

    All this is assuming the Vikings can still hold their poise and not suffer a collapse many are predicting (I didn't realize until this morning that Adrian Peterson has not rushed for over 100 yards since Week 1!). Green Bay is going to start treading water soon, if they aren't already. Losing to the Bengals back when they were still the Bungles in Week 2 was horribly disheartening, and then losing a huge emotional game in the Rollerdome while giving up 150 sacks is the kind of stuff that will push them out of contention.

    Unless a complete collapse on defense, an injury to Matt Forte or Jay Cutler, or Halas Hall suffering a tragic structural catastrophe on a Wednesday morning I have a hard time seeing these Bears miss the playoffs. The second quarter begins on Sunday, though.

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    Many of my hardcore Packer fan friends are not making post season plans. Their O-line is just not getting it done and they are not hopeful for a turnaround. Hopefully they are right.

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    This sunday was a waste. i watched the Denver game and was happy for Neckbeard and parts of the Colts game but was jonesing for the beloved. Here are my thoughts on the upcoming Falcons game:

    We need to come out and have a Bears 2nd half in the beginning of the game. We need to put Matt Ryan on the ground so he doesn't get too confident. I know they will stab the soft underbelly of our Tampa 2 so we have to make the 3rd down and short stops when when they make the mistake of running on that down.
    We need another boost from the kick return game. some good field position in the very beginning of the game or to start the 2nd half really demoralizes the other team. I leave that to Mr.Knox and Mr. Hester.
    No huge kick returns from the Falcons and we have a great shot at beating them.
    This is a great game to have after the bye week because it will be a huge momentum boost for our boys. People will be healthier, Pisa is back to bolster the LB's even more. I think we are going to see alot of the fucking Gator Chomp boys!! Gune, AB, Tommie, AA, Big Marcus, Big Toe...it's time to shut those ATL boys down. down to China Town.

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    Who you callin "Sir"!? LOL.

    I wouldn't include Dallas on my list, FDQ1911. At least not yet.
    I have to admit tho', I did miss the other 2 Florida teams.

    The EPA may have to make a vist down there as well.

    Attention, NFL even WITHOUT the Cowbums included, that is 37% of your teams. Ouch.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    it's FQD1911!!!!! not FDQ1911 lol

    don't worry....it's a common mistake :-)

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    And that is with a salary cap. An uncapped NFL will be much, much worse.

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    Pisa will have have his hands full Sunday, Johnny.

    I believe Tony Gonzalez is Tinoisamoa's responsibility.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    ouch, a rude welcome back to the league after a knee injury. "Hey Pisa, welcome back, now go out there and cover that hall of fame tight end."

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Apparently Old AND dislexic, QFD1119.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    I never look THAT far down the schedule, Z. too manty variables in between.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    I have to otherwise I let the we are out of it if we lose these 2 games mentality set in. All thoughts are subject to change.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Did anyone happen to read Peter King's column today? He was questioning Deion's impartiality because of his relationship with some NFL players. He was wondering about him over praising some of these players. What a joke. I don't even like Sanders but King is such a hopeless cheerleader for Favre it's sickening. Oh well.

    Go Bears!

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    I hope there are some serious Gator chomps being done over his crumpled carcass. Oops. Was that out loud?

  • In reply to mikemuadib:

    Over Farvre not King. Well maybe over King too.

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    If we lost both of these we would be 3-3. Then the Browns and Cardinals at home. I like us in both of these, so 5-3. At the 49ers will still be tough if Gore is back but this is another team I think we should squeak out a victory against, 6-3. At home against the Eagles does not sound like fun but maybe we win in a shootout. If not, 6-4. At the stupid Vikings, 6-5. I like us at home against the Rams, 7-5. At home against the Pack we must win and I like us for anyway, 8-5. At the Ravens sucks although maybe Cutler can pass against them, if not 8-6. At home against the Vikes, 8-7. I like us at Detroit, 9-7.

    That's 9-7 with us losing all of the Atl, Cin, Philly, Baltimore and both Minn games. If we win even 1 we are 10-6. 2 for 11-5.

    Anyone feel any better?

    Like your team. They have room to improve big time and they are already scrappy.

  • In reply to Shady:

    Here are my thoughts:

    The trade is going to work out for both teams. Denver received exactly what it needed: a true game manager, a QB who doesn't make spectacular plays to win games per se, but also doesn't make big mistakes to cost a team a win (although some of his throws near the end of the game were pretty close to INTs). Kyle is supported by one of the league's best offensive lines, a #1 WR who can turn a terrible pass into a TD, and a re-built defense that suddenly has some teeth to it. The Broncos don't need Jay Cutler to win, not yet at least, they just need a QB who can keep them in games by not making mig mistakes. Sounds like the perfect system for KO.

    The Bears on the other hand do not have the luxury of having a dominating offensive line to provide room for the RB to run wild and provide all day for the QB to throw. They do not have a #1 WR who can turn a would-be INT into a spectacular catch and TD run. The Bears need Jay Cutler to win games with his mobility, arm strength and accuracy. The Broncos need Kyle Orton to be mistake free and get the ball to their playmaking WRs.

    Right now this trade is working out wonderfully for both teams. Both Orton and Cutler have found homes that win when their respective QB do what they do best: for Kyle, it's managing the game with a solid defense - and for Jay, it's making plays with his feet and rocket arm. What a trade, huh? Can you imagine a Denver v. Chicago Superbowl? Now that would be awesome.

  • In reply to Shady:

    anyone catch the KO interview at halftime last night? dude was just a class act, crediting the entire team for their 5-0 record. even handled the stupid softball question from costas "are you surprised that you're 5-0?" really well. if i can paraphrase KO's very polite and tactful reply, it was something like "no, dumbfuck, we're not surprised. you might be, but we're working hard, there's still 11 games to go, piss off...."

  • In reply to Shady:

    Amazing what a system designed towards your strengths can do. Better O-line and Marshall and Royal don't hurt either.

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