Bears Must Take Steps to Become "Super Bowl Ready"

Bears Must Take Steps to Become "Super Bowl Ready"

A Tweet from Sun-Times beat writer Sean Jensen signaled the most positive development from the Bears dominant performance Sunday:

Lovie Smith, when asked about 5 sacks: "We’re not Super Bowl ready. We’re just getting started."

The most uplifting thing for me about the Bears Sunday was just how great they weren't.  How many mistakes they made.  How much better they can be if they keep improving right through until Indianapolis in February.  It won't all get fixed in the month of September but there are clear areas where the Bears need work.


John Abraham beating J'Marcus Webb is not a surprise.  John Abraham is better at football than J'Marcus Webb.  I truly believe Webb is going to need the entirety of the 2011 campaign to find his footing at LT and the Bears need to prepare for that.  But the quarterback needs to be responsible for releasing the football before edge rushers are able to make their second move on either tackle.  With the ability of Matt Forte to make plays in space, there is literally no excuse for Cutler to hold the football and take a sack.  Drop it to #22 in space and see what comes from it or toss it into the fifth row.  Your own physical health and the mental health of your young left tackle will be protected.


As good as the linebackers were Sunday, and Brian Urlacher was as good as he's been in years, there were too many times Falcons running backs seemed to be on the third level once they penetrated the line of scrimmage.  The cut-back run has killed the Bears throughout the Lovie Smith era, primarily due to over-pursuit and an aggressive linebacking corps.  With Henry Melton possibly returning the middle of the defensive line to elite status, they should be able to maintain their gaps and suffocate opposing run games.


Did the Bears miss Greg Olsen Sunday?  I don't know.  Would red zone attack really be a concern if Jay Cutler had executed the brilliant Mike Martz throw-back screen to a wide open Kellen Davis?  Probably not.  Nevertheless, the Bears are in the big leagues of the NFC and will have to score with the Packers and Eagles and Saints in order to make a deep run in the postseason.  That means touchdowns in the red zone, not field goals.


There's a few things you have to get used to when your team runs the defense the Bears run.  One of those things is that receivers are going to be open in the same old spaces on third-and-medium.  (On the positive side, you also get used to not being beat deep down the field very often.)  But the red flag must be raised by just how wide open Tony Gonzalez seemed throughout the afternoon.  The Bears will next see a Saints team without their top receiver (Colston) and with a rising star called Jimmy Graham at the TE position.  The week after the Packers will bring Jermichael Finley, perhaps the best pass-catching TE in the league, for a date at Soldier Field.  Defending tight ends might not be the most important issue facing the 2011 Chicago Bears but it is certainly the most pressing.

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  • The Bears will be FIRST in line for that Lombardi trophy.

  • Colon out for the year.

  • In reply to Jokey:

    Huge bullet dodged.

  • In reply to Jokey:

    How are they 93% favorites over the Seahawks?

  • Lovie and Jerry have assembled the best team and coaching staff in probably 20 years. The Gold standard may not be here but it's close. I know its premature but this year looks to be a great one. Yes, I say great. I think Jerry has redeemed himself from 3 years ago when he looked like he had destroyed our Bears chances of being any good. I really did think that we would be looking at 3 or 4 years of hopeless football.

  • In reply to BigDaddy:

    I do think though Jerry & Co are making a huge financial error regarding Matt Forte (as I posted here prior to game 1). Thats ultimately cap space down the road that could have been saved.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    As I said before. A deal will we done by week 4.

  • In reply to BigDaddy:

    hope so.

  • Also, Lance Louis looks to be inactive this week. Spencer to the rescue.

  • On the TE subject. The way the Bears D works is that they are not looking to take away that short pass... they are offering the short pass in exchange for taking away the long ball. What the Bears need to do is keep the short pass as a low percentage play. If teams are only completing it 30-40% of the time, instead of 60-70%, then we keep their 3rd down ratio under control. Teams are going to convert against our defense; but all that means is another first down maybe 10-15 closer than the last one. If we can stop them one out of three times, more often than not they will be forced to punt.

    Teams that make the short pass their first option and embrace the dink and dunk game (Tom Brady excels at this, so does Rodgers) will keep us scared. Teams that continue to look for the long ball (see Matt Ryan) will find their QB getting pressured into bad throws and spending a lot of time on his back. The better pressure we generate, the better the strategy works.

  • In reply to NewBearInTown:

    If we can unload some good wood on these shorter routes and inflict some pain ; that may lead to a few more take aways

  • In reply to NewBearInTown:

    That means the Saints will kill us :o(

  • Solid stuff NBIT. The essence of the Lovie defense is "you run 15 play drives and that's 15 chances to make a mistake"

  • In reply to Jeff Hughes:

    With the all the passer friendly rules the NFL keeps making, I think Lovie has a lot of foresight. There are never going to be enough Derrel Revises to go around.

  • In reply to Jeff Hughes:

    But we give up chunks of time and yardage in doing so. It's what we do though, so be it.


    One thing about Manning, the guy plays hard. Its a crime what the NFL is doing to the defensive side of the game.

    Also have to criticize. I rather enjoy watching the Deion Sanders top 10 countdown (Prime Time) on No idea why the Bears D (or Pepp, or Lach individually) got no love. He was a DB, he usually recognizes good defensive play.

  • In reply to NewBearInTown:

    He was all over Jay's little Jay by Sunday funny that he didn't give love to a dominating D performance. When's the last time a QB threw for that kind of yardage without their Offense scoring a TD?

  • In reply to MikeBrownhadaPosse:

    Good win in fantasy Brownie. Most of me teams stunk it up and out of 13 games I think I won 5. I left a lot of points on the bench.

  • In reply to BigDaddy:

    Thanks, I went 4-for-4 this week...mostly because I'm a homer and drafted (and started) Forte and Cutler whenever I could.

  • Vegas has the Saints as 7 point favorites. This is difficult to swallow given the way our team manhandled the dirty birds.

  • In reply to BigDaddy:

    It's all good. The Bears like being the underdog.

  • In reply to BigDaddy:

    As much as I hate spread betting, that's a great bet for the Bears.

  • Blogfader...agree on all good evaluation for the early season.

  • In reply to lobotobear:

    If we dominate the Saints like we did the Falcons, game over.

  • and now something completely different:

    Hey GooF#$!@#$#!@K stop screwing with the game. sheesh!

  • In reply to lobotobear:

    Yeah lobo, someone needs to tell Goodell to stop messin with the Zohan.

  • In reply to BigDaddy:

    BD..tee hee hee

  • In reply to lobotobear:

    absolutely brutal. this is getting out of hand. The point of the rule was to reduce helmet to helmet collisions and tackles. what the fuck is this shit? manning was getting out of the motherfucking way. goodell you piece of shit. this is really going to fuck a team one of these days.


    p.s. hey donkey's hows that trade working for ya? ........Thank you Denver our franchise QB....hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  • Stuck in jury duty all day at the Daley Center, booorrringgg.

  • In reply to Shady:

    Bring Ann Coulter's new book. Make sure everybody sees it. Hopefully that'll get you dismissed.

  • In reply to NewBearInTown:

    Close, I just told them I watch Fox News and I was dismissed. Booya.

  • In reply to Shady:

    Prima Facie sign of mental illness.

  • In reply to gpldan:


  • In reply to gpldan:

    At least people who watch Fox News(Like me on occasion) go into it not pretending like their not getting biased feed.

  • In reply to A7Xthebest:

    A couple of points:
    1) how do you know how other Fox News viewers are interpreting the presence of bias in their news shows?
    Maybe some of them actually think they are getting reliable news?
    2) implicit in your statement is that people who watch Fox News have some higher meta-awareness of the news bullshit quotient than those of us who do not, which I find kind of vaguely insulting.
    3) and most important, do you then watch it for entertainment value?
    I get watching Fox News or the talk shows on MSNBC/CNN about like I get people watching "Entertainment Tonight". What's the point?

  • In reply to MikeBrownhadaPosse:

    I watch Fox news because the only alternative is BBC World, which is boring as fuck. I enjoy the entertainment hilarity of watching idiots like Hannity and O' Reilly, other similar lunatics and the botoxed big-titted 'legal experts' etc. It does frighten me that people eat this crap up as news though,a nd the fact taht the Federal Reserve are held up as some kind of 'federal' regulatory body instead of being the cocksucking sheisters that have America on its knees.

  • In reply to IrishSweetness:

    Plus the dude that walked off the set when Jesse Ventura, ex-NAVY SEAL Demolitions expert, pointed out the obviousness of the twin towers being controlled demolitions, whoever he was. Walking off a set I can understand, but when it's your own show .....

  • Please give us no love:

    I'm really worried about some of the pundits giving us love..I like the under dog suit...are we in new territory here?

  • In reply to lobotobear:

    aaaaahhhhhhhh...I fell better now:

    BEARS 24- AINT'S-20

  • Check out these power rankings. How in theee hell do the Falcons get ranked @ #11 after the beat down we gave them and we are only #9. I guess it'll take 16 more weeks before they run out of excuses. I'm still wondering how the 9th ranked team in the NFL isn't even under playoff consideration before the start of the season. Anyone?

  • In reply to BigDaddy:

    It's all good...I likey the underdog roll......but then again....... 'F' er's

  • In reply to lobotobear:

    Ha. This is better lobo.

  • In reply to BigDaddy:

    Trac, the saints at #2???? really?

    I don't have a rational reason for it, but I just feel like they're not going to end up too much above .500 this year. Maybe I'm totally wrong, but I guess we'll see this week.

  • In reply to BigDaddy:

    Obviously, they played us close...wait, what?

  • That throw back screen was one of the best plays I think I have even seen (design wise). There was so much deception. Thats exciting considering there is probably still another 300+ pages in the Martz playbook.

  • Martz huddle call:

    "56-dynamo-weak-lamp-cross-4-veejay route black x"

  • In reply to gpldan:

  • In reply to gpldan:

    that was this play:

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    btw, Tyler C blocked 3 guys on that play.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    3guys on that play and then was 40 yards downfield blocking with Kahlil Bell to get Hester to the 1yd line on his.

  • any word on RW's injury ? looks like Spencer-for-hire will start, but at RG it seems. Doubt Garza will move to RG this soon. Jeez. the left side of our lines really does suck donkey's though. Anybody else see Chrissie totally wiff on a block and Cutty almost got destroyed? On another note, do you guys think that there will much a big advantage for the Saints with Olin knowing our D-schemes ? I always liked Olin and he be a true Bear forever, but man, I really would like to see Melton or Big Toe pancake him and then body slam Brees. Having Colston out is a gift that we need to cash in on.

  • In reply to GuinnessPlease:

    day-to-day was last report...groin pulls suck.
    Not as bad as a torn achilles maybe, but....

  • In reply to GuinnessPlease:

    Man you can't dog Williams too bad. He has had a solid year so far. Him and Garza have had the best year so far.

  • I pray that none of you suffered through what happened to me last night.

    I sat on the sofa, had a couple of cans of PBR ready, and my remote by my side. Some cheese 'n onion quiche that my wife made earlier was warmed up in the microwave and awaiting consumption.
    And then I made a fatal error.
    I turned on the Broncos/Raiders game.

    I don't know who sucked more, the players or the referees. That was football, but just barely. Consecutive false starts by the same guy on the raiders, flag picked up after flag picked up by the ref for non-existent penalties, and so on and so on...
    I fell asleep midway through the second quarter.

  • In reply to MikeBrownhadaPosse:

    I watched it.

    Once the light rain starting coming down, it turned into farce.

  • In reply to MikeBrownhadaPosse:

    Oh man it was painful. Fisrt the pile of flags that werent really flags. "There is no penalty for illegal formation" "there is no penalty for too many men" etc etc
    Then the third quarter came and the Raiders just went penalty crazy! It was painful to watch.

  • In reply to MikeBrownhadaPosse:

    PBR! Beer of champs.

    I fell asleep to by the 3rd quarter. However, since I live in L.A. I'm used to this crappy type of game as all they show is Charger/Raider games. Raiders ALWAYS lead the league in penalties, and when they play the Broncos and Chiefs, it gets taken up another notch. That's why I'm so happy I'm watching the NFL package this year; I'm no longer at the mercy of such god aweful "football".

    Still, it's a little refreshing to see a glimpse of the old AFL still alive in well. Once Al Davis goes, whether we like it or not, it's going to be an end to an era.

  • Florio is retarded.

    That is all.

  • In reply to MikeBrownhadaPosse:

    HOW do you rank the Saints over Baltimore, for one thing?

  • I’m with you MBP... man that game was brutal to watch. All I saw was two terrible teams clusterfucking each other. Like two slow monkeys trying to fuck a greased football in the mud. Jesus, that was terrible. I always pull for neckbeard, but it was just all bad last night. We would fucking destroy both of those teams.

    Groin pulls are nowhere near as bad as a torn Achilles… GP can back me up on this one. FirstDown is prob. going to be out this week and back next, unless it was really really bad. But I can't see it going much beyond a 3 week deal.

    And NO idea why everyone thinks the saints are the shizz? Again, maybe I’m crazy and they’re going to stomp us this weekend, but I just don’t see it. Those rankers are all wankers (see how I did that?) who feel the need to stick by their baseless prognostications from before the first game of the preseason.

  • Oh jesus... Gangsta:

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    What's the Over/Under on Gucci Mang staying out of prison the whole season?

    Cause the CPD, they got some real nice VIP rooms you can visit.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    whatever it is, I'll take the under.

  • sorry if this has already been posted:,0,7782512,full.column

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    Read that, but it was interesting that Major Wright was NOT called out for Turner's big run. I think that's right. There was a lineman blocking him and Turner cut behind the block. If it was anyone's fault, it was probably Lach's fault - bad gap discipline. Great game by him though.

  • damn, these injuries must be worse than we thought. Barber has been out close to 3 weeks, Hurd about 3 weeks and now Williams is down with a groin strain.

  • In reply to Gucci Mang:

    Roy has been busy with the ladies. Bitches don't fuck themselves, yo.

    I can totally see Roy and Gucci Mang rollin down 35th street in a 300 SRT8 with 20" chrome dubs.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Easy does it, I went to college on the Southside on State St. between 31st and 35th. I'll tell you this, Bitch Stix(best nickname ever, he got it here in Dallas) isn't tough enough to do time on 35th St. He's a pretty boy punk with no constitution. The only decent Texas phrase I've learned in the last 5 years comes to mind......Roy Williams is all hat and no cattle. I don't care how well he does this year, I'm not on the RW bandwagon...........f-ing Bitch Stix.

  • In reply to MattySouthside:

    LOL. I'll take your word for it. I grew up in Beverly, but I can no longer make a legit claim to being a southsider.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    If you grew up there, you can make a legit claim. If you were just born there and did not spend your "informative years" then you can not lay claim. I no longer live there but its where I came from, and is who I am!

  • In reply to MattySouthside:

    Damn, if this ain't the best fucking blog ever. Thanks, ya'll!

  • In reply to SC Dave:

    " Bitches don't fuck themselves, yo."

    Hee hee

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    dylan said
    you can't make love all by yourself

  • In reply to MattySouthside:

    He caught everything thrown at him Sunday ... and that's his job.

  • Most interesting thing (to me) about the Henne-Brady shootout:

    Henne was much beloved by Lloyd Carr, much beloved and recruited, given the #1 job of running the Wolverines without much fight, and finished his career on a high note, beating the Gators in a bowl that was Lloyd Carr's last game as coach, sending him out on a high note.

    Brady was not particularly beloved in Ann Arbor. Almost nobody thought the guy was the answer to anything, and his year as QB is not looked upon fondly. Brady has a huge chip on his shoulder about A2, as well he should have - he was treated like shit by the snoberatti of Michigan. Little did they know Rome was burning.

    Brady is now God incarnate, dwarfing all remaining memories of past Patriot QBs, including the guy he replaced, who did make a Super Bowl appearance.

    Henne is struggling to be seen as legit in Miami, where he still hears cries for Orton. I wonder after the games we just saw from Henne and Orton, if Fishfan still feels that way...

  • Blogfadda...Unless we're playing the packers, please don't put a fucking picture of a packer on the site.

  • Unless it's this...

  • +1

  • Jimmy wishes you happy Tribune Media day

  • In reply to gpldan:

    In the Chicago Media feedback blog, almost everyone bitches up a storm about how big the media bar is compared to blog comments, and how the login page doesn't reliably work - and since the July rollout of the new engine - exactly nothing has been done or even acknowledged regarding it..

    The Gnomes keep toiling away in their garden of delight.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    A hell of a gig if you can get it...

  • Fun story. I had nobody to watch the Bears game with this past weekend, and finally decided to just go to a local (kosher) restaurant to watch their big screen. Meanwhile the (wonderful) wife watched both kids in anticipation of a playdate with my son's new classmate. After I'm already into the second quarter, the classmates show up along with their father (Dad) because Mom was running errands. Turns out Dad is a football fan too. So my (even more wonderful) wife agrees to watch all 4 kids (mine and his) so he can meet me at the restaurant to watch the game.

    So Dad works for MLB. He's a professional stats guy for one of the teams. In conversation, I mention the new ESPN quarterback rating. Turns out, the stats guy who developed it is an old college buddy. Dad explains that his buddy is a true scientist and that he really honestly wants feedback about the new system and how good it is.

    Cutler, perhaps not completely unfairly, did terrible in the new system. See here:
    He scores 42.6 (25th in the league) where 100 is perfect and 50 is average. Many criticized this rating because of O-line play and poor receivers, but the system is supposed to consider those factors.

    Here is another article with more details on the system.

    I would be very interested to get the blog’s thoughts on the system. It seems to me nearly impossible to quantify how much the receiving corps contributes by getting separation on a regular basis, and how much the weak units affect play calling, but at least in principle the ideas in the article seem to make sense.

    One other side note. Dad got himself a drink and came back 10 minutes later. "Small world," he said. "Just saw a colleague I haven't seen in 8 years." "Who's that?" I asked. Also in the pizza shop was Joe Torre, Bud Selig's right hand man and EVP of baseball operations for MLB – apparently his sister keeps kosher. Small world indeed.

  • In reply to NewBearInTown:

    Wow, he's old buddies are Joe Torre and the guy who came up with the new qb ratings...When I run into my old friends there typically pumping my gas or serving me a drink...

  • A surprisingly large percentage of my old buddies went to law school... in some ways that's even more boring.

  • In reply to NewBearInTown:

    Awesome story NB where did this all take place?

  • In reply to Shady:

    EJ's Pizza in Skokie. Only been open for 6 months or so. The only kosher place in town with a decent TV... I'm really hoping they start doing something for Bears games or Monday Night Football. So far though, its just a pizza shop with a TV.

  • In reply to NewBearInTown:

    I've seen the new "QBR" - it's a joke, IMHO. It tries to be more comprehensive, but by doing so, becomes way too subjective and inaccurate leading to Non Sequitur conclusions.

    "QBR allocates the points added by every play in an NFL season to each of the players involved, every play. On completed passes, for example, it splits credit among QBs, receivers and blockers, depending on factors such as whether the quarterback was under duress, where he threw the ball, how far it traveled and how many yards the receiver gained after the catch. QBR splits the blame for sacks on quarterbacks and offensive linemen and attributes QB fumbles to QBs. Further, QBR weights every play by its clutch value -- its contribution to a team's chances of winning, given the score of a game, not just to scoring points. "

    Who exactly is assessing the receivers and blockers? The oline in particular is notoriously difficult to analyze. How does one quantify "clutch"? What kind of scale is that based on, and how precisely does it work in tandem with receivers and oline performance?

    Cutler by this system is ranked 25th and Kerry Collins 15. Really? Shouldn't Cutler, by its own very criteria of taking Oline and WR and clutch plays, be ranked much higher than Collins? How many clutch plays did the Titans have when compared to us as NFC champs? Was their Oline worse? Their WRs? Oh, and they had this hb named CJ who I'm sure did a little bit to open up the pass, how does that factor in? What's the formula?

    Would any team take Collins over Cutler? Even the Packers if they had to choose one would take Cutler.

    More proof that the QBR system is seriously flawed.

    Matt Ryan is ranked #3 while Phillip Rivers is ranked #9; David Garrad, who no one will hire even as a back-up, is ranked #14, while Kyle Orton is #21, Cutler#25, Bradford #29. Really?

    In the cumulative seasons between 2008-2010 Chad Pennington is ranked ahead of Rodgers, Rivers, Cutler, Roethslisberger, Schaub...

    Obviously, there's an inherit flaw to the system when results like these are produced.

    I'll stick to the old QB ranking system that while more mathematically complex is far more objective and reflective of reality. If anything, they just need to tweak that QB rating a bit, but not overhaul it.

    As with almost all things ESPN.


  • In reply to 4ever85:

    NB, I think 4ever85 is spot on regarding his analysis. This new rating system is garbage.

  • In reply to 4ever85:

    Yeah, didn't we have links to the explanation of it a while back. My brain isn't designed to hold onto useful information, but as I recall at the time after reaing it was just very very dumb. Especially based on the QB rankings, which just made no sense.

  • In reply to 4ever85:

    In defence of Chad Pennington, he's the most accurate QB in NFL history, statistically speaking.

  • In reply to NewBearInTown:

    that woman is a saint:

    I heard them talking about the accuracy of this on mike and mike mon. a.m. it seems very worthy
    I believe in a life without quantifying a players value according to the numbers

    it is an interesting analysis,
    and makes for alot of chest thumping
    and it keeps the mathematicians, and statisticians, gassed up
    but as the great Alfred Korzybski said:
    "The map is not the territory"

    I'm going with; did we win
    or did we lose....cause enough w's will = indianapolis

    john unitas was great
    , but i wonder what these models would say about his games

  • Everyone see that Chicago-NO is now the marquee noon game this weekend?

    Time to shine, Bears, time to shine.

  • In reply to MikeBrownhadaPosse:

    love me some noon games. Cutty's blood sugar is fucking perfect and in a climate controlled dome on artificial surface Peppers and Melton are going to be that much more effective. Forte and Hester on an artifical surface? fucking forget about it. gucci mang out.

  • In reply to Gucci Mang:

    Yeah, no one has to get screwed over by DirectTv this week I guess.

  • In reply to Gucci Mang:

    They're 12/5 no spread Gucci. How about them apples?

  • In reply to IrishSweetness:

    i only bet on superbowls irish. betting scares the shit out of me to be honest.


    You may now resume your regularly scheduled program, that is all.

  • In reply to 4ever85:

    Yo where's Fresnuts? I had him twice in the two DBB leagues I'm in and you need to drop Peyton Manning, Colston and dudes like that Fres, YO ! FRES !

  • Did anyone else cover this story? It seems some of us that feared there would be a shoe to drop concerning the Pats dropping Merriweather like a hot potato seem to not be unfounded.

  • In reply to BigDaddy:

    Im trying to imagine a district court judge getting a transcript of VIP on the Swole's lyrics. To determine state of defendants attitude towards the ladies.

    "You know what time it is?"

    Yeah. As the song says "we just might have a problem"

  • In reply to gpldan:

    "If it pleases the court your honor, Mister Billy Bumpkin has agreed to play the song for the record. Go ahead when you're ready, Billy."

  • In reply to BigDaddy:

    It really seems like a non issue on the surface. They were guests in his house, not even sure if he was home, but it did not involve him in any way.

  • In reply to #76 Mongo Murph:

    If you found out your son's friend who had been involved in a on field brawl in college and had been present during a shooting was having a party, would you let him go? Then after you begrudgingly let him go, you find out a girl got raped at said party, what would you do? What would you think of your son's friend. This guy obviously lives the thug life and I don't think I can root for him.

  • In reply to BigDaddy:

    He's pretty obviously an idiot who puts himself in bad situations, based on his prior history. This merely confirms that aspect of his personality. He's no Peanut or Izzy, that's for damn sure.

    It'll be interesting what comes of this case; Goodell won't play around if it becomes more damning than it is.

  • In reply to BigDaddy:

    The Brandon Merriweather song would be funny if I was 19-20 years old.
    Mom swallows, she takes it up the ass, and she's a bitch and and a hoe. Those are some moving lyrics. Inspirational.
    The dogs are on the prowl tonight, looking for the best bitch tonight.
    How about some good music about humanity that celebrates the opposite sex.

  • In reply to BigDaddy:

    i always remember that life's forces are always creating circumstances that shape the human....
    these guy's have l"life stuff" to work through
    they just do it out in the open
    if I were in his skin; this would shake me to the core
    hopefully he uses this to tighten up

  • I thought this point by Adam Shefter interesting.

    "8. You have to win early: It's just one game, true. Teams can bounce back from a loss, absolutely. But there's no denying that teams that win on opening weekend increase their chances of making the playoffs.

    Since 1978, when the NFL went to the 16-game schedule -- and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982 -- teams that are victorious on opening weekend are more than twice as likely to reach the playoffs as losers of an opening game are.

    Just look at the numbers. Of the 474 teams that won openers, 251 went to the playoffs and 147 won division titles. Of the 474 teams that lost openers, 106 went to the playoffs and 63 won division titles. Just last season, it held up again. Eight of the 12 playoff teams -- Baltimore, Chicago, Green Bay, Kansas City, New England, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Seattle -- won their first game. "

  • In reply to 4ever85:

    Combine that stat with this other.

    "There could be an even bigger surprise. In each of the past eight seasons, without fail, at least one team has made the jump from worst to first. Last season's last-place teams were Denver, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Arizona, Carolina, Minnesota and Washington. As unlikely as it seems, the chances are one of these teams will win its division and become this season's biggest surprise."

    So, by process of elimination, Bills, Bengals, Redskins most likely candidates to be surprise teams of the year, as unbelievable as it is to imagine the Bills over Pats, Bengals over Ravens, Redskins over Eagles...

  • In reply to 4ever85:

    That's be an interesting bet to make. I'd put my money on Arizona or Denver (anything can happen in the West) or the Titans (Houston is really the only threat). Probably Arizona if I had to pick.

    The Cards won, by the way.

  • In reply to NewBearInTown:

    Oops, forgot about the Cards! They actually might be the prime candidate.

  • In reply to 4ever85:

    The Cards definitely have the inside track. They get Carolina and Minnesota for their flex games, while the rams get the Packers and the Saints. The rest of their schedules are identical. That's quite an advantage

  • In reply to thebigcheese:

    Agreed. It's much easier to envision the Cards winning their division than the Bills, Bengals and Redskins.

  • In reply to 4ever85:

    The Ravens are Awesome with a capital A. The Bengals have a good D but Dalton looks like a ducheyne.

  • In reply to 4ever85:

    First of all, the stats are way overrated. How many of the teams that lost opening week had no chance anyway. How many of the teams that lost opening week, would have gone on the warpath anyway, or played in a really easy division anyway. Its a win, it helps team momentum, that's it.

    I'd be interested to see a statistic. How many teams go 2-0, 1-1, 0-2 after winning the opening weekend? Since 1982, there are 474 games to check, but you could go back a lot further on this one.

  • In reply to NewBearInTown:

    yeah, but first games might be decent indicators or at the very least hint, New Bear.

    Last year, when the Bears won, everyone just thought they got lucky. Same with the Chiefs, and to a certain extent, the Seahawks (how many "experts" had SF winning that division? Mike Greenberg had them going to the SB!); all those teams went to the playoffs.

    Bills, Bengals, Redskins are pretty much treated the same one year later, this very week. I'm not really a stat guy, but history tells us that there is going to be a worst to first story this inconceivable and implausible as it seems.

  • In reply to 4ever85:

    This doesn't hold any water unless you compare it to the statistics from a different week. I would hypothesize that if you asked the question - "How many teams that won their week 6 game went to the post-season?" you would get similar numbers.

    There are only 16 games. Let's assume it takes 10 wins to go to the playoffs? Looking at teams that won their opener, means you are looking at a pool of teams who have already earned roughly 10% of the victories that are required to go to the playoffs.

    Similarly, when you look at the teams who lost their opener, you're looking at a pool of teams who have already racked up 17% of the number of losses that they are allowed to lose before they miss the playoffs.

    If you isolate any given week, you'll get these results. I doubt one specific week has a significant deviation from the mean.

  • In reply to thebigcheese:

    I actually just checked, and of the 36 playoff teams over the past 3 years, 24 won their week 12 game (6/12 in 2008, 10/12 in 2009, and 8/12 in 2010).

  • In reply to thebigcheese:

    What, you don't want to pull the records of week 12 since 1978!? lol

    I did some math, and week 12 wins might actually be more indicative of playoff teams, but hell, by that time, there are no "surprise" teams, and you can't take Vegas to the bank (or less so).

  • In reply to thebigcheese:

    I think that's a valid point, maybe not the last 4 games because some teams like the Colts who win the division early pretty much call it a season early, so exclude the last four games of a season.

    But, I'm only working with what I got here (unfortunately, I don't have a stat intern);

    -opening day winners are twice as likely to make it to the playoffs

    -last 8 years at least one team has made the jump from worst to first.

    Obviously, this could be the year of the outlier, but reasonable predictions aren't based on them.

    Just food for thought (esp if ur in Vegas).

  • Oh yeah, the football thing ....

    As for how great the Bears weren't, as you say Jeff, Urlacher's reaction in the presser was promising. He seemed really adamant that there was a lot more to come from the Bears' defense, judging by his body language.

    As for the O-line however, I'm less confident now than I was. Webb sucks at LT, just as he did at RT. Saying he'll need a full season to find his feet screams 'Danger Will Robinson'! to me. We don't have a year for the most important guy on the line to find his feet, we need to build a wall around our franchise. Currently, both tackles look bad - right now. And that's all that counts. Right now. If Cutler is hospitalised next week we can all bask in the knowledge that we might have a really good LT next year? I doubt it with all my heart and with every fiber in body. We need to start seeing what Levi Horn has.

    Do we miss Greg Olsen? Who? I'll take Spaeth and Davis over anyone. KD looked a bit rusty on Sunday, admittedly, but it's week one.

    As for giving up yards in the run game, maybe it's time to insert Chris Harris alongside VIP Superflyguy pimp of the year. Pringles can't tackle. This is the NFL. The window is closing.

  • it's official...
    'Lach's the NFC Defensive Player of the Week...

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