Program Note: There will be no Weekend Show! this week due to the holiday. We'll return to action next week with a full program. Also, only tobijohn recorded a perfect Thanksgiving as almost every one of you picked the 49ers.
It is next to impossible for anyone to truly predict what will happen when the Bears travel to Oakland for a late Sunday afternoon affair in northern California. To make the prediction, you have to know what the Bears are going to receive from Caleb Hanie at the quarterback position and I don't see how it's possible to know that. Nevertheless...
WHY DO I LIKE THE CHICAGO BEARS THIS WEEK?
- I always like the Chicago Bears.
- I don't think Caleb Hanie is going to light up the box score with his passing statistics because I'm a believer that much of the Bears passing production is due entirely to Cutler's ability to make throws only a handful of players in the league can make. What I love about Hanie in this offense is his mobility. When things break down, Hanie will lower his head and take off, moving the chains with his legs.
- If you read my weekly preview column, I rarely lean on the cliched run the ball-stop the run maxim for winning a football game. The Raiders rush for 156.8 yards per game (3rd in football) and allow 131.6 a game (25th) on 5.2 per carry (31st). What does this mean? It means they run it well and don't stop the run at all and still win more games than they lose. But there is no way Carson Palmer is the same quarterback who diced the Bears secondary a few years ago at Soldier Field and if the Bears gang up on the run they will win this game.
- I think this phone call happened Monday morning:
Agent: Hey Caleb you know you're a free agent this winter, right?
Hanie: Uh huh.
Agent: You know that Kevin Kolb stinks and because he played one good quarter for the Eagles last year that dumbo Whisenhunt gave him $65 million, right?
Hanie: Uh huh.
Agent: Play well.
- What makes this game against the Raiders so tough is their kickers. Sebastian Janikowski can all-but neutralize the Bears kick return game by booting the ball into the tenth row and Shane Lechler is one of the best punters to ever play the game. This is the only time all season where I'll be surprised to see Hester have a major special teams impact.
- I say this all the time but the passing approach that defeats the Bears is an accurate QB comfortable hitting big receivers in front of the Bears corners when they play 7-10 yards off. That's not the approach Palmer takes with this offense. He's been living off the downfield pass. And if the Bears front four shows up and plays huge, Palmer will be a sitting duck.
- Over the first five games (including a suffocating effort against the Falcons) the Bears defense allowed 24.4 points per game. Over the last five games, they've allowed 17 per game. They've improved by a full touchdown and they are now getting the turnovers which have been the signature of the Lovie Smith era. I think they carry the day.
- Here's what I can't get over with Oakland. Their last two home games have been a four touchdown loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and a two touchdown loss to the Denver Broncos.
- I think this game is going to be decided by Matt Forte in the screen game.
Chicago Bears 20, Oakland Raiders 17
Your Lines This Week:
BENGALS -7.5 Browns / Texans -3.5 JAGS / Panthers -3.5 COLTS / TITANS -3 Bucs / FALCONS -9 Vikings / RAIDERS -5 Bears / SEAHAWKS -3.5 Redskins / Patriots -4 EAGLES / CHARGERS -6 Broncos / RAMS -2.5 Cardinals / JETS -8.5 Bills / Steelers -10.5 CHIEFS / SAINTS -7 Giants
The Brothers: Jon (22-10-1) - Giants, Texans, Bucs, Jeff (19-13-1) - Bears, Bengals, Jets, Chris (19-13-1) - Panthers, Bengals, Jets
The Commenter Perfect Weeks: tobijohn (4), New Bear in Town (3), FQD1911 (2), SC Dave (2), BigDaddy (2), BossBear90 (2), Ufficio (2), Michael L (2), Shady (2), MikeV in OR (2), greenbayman (1), Sacramento's #1 Bears Fan (1), ben in norcal (1), CanadaBear (1), #76 Mongo Murph (1), TheFifth (1), DYLbears23 (1), EnderWiggin (1), IrishSweetness (1), Who is Willie Gault (1), SC Dave (1)
Note: Only two weeks remains in the Picks Contest. Unless eight contestants find themselves with three (3) perfect weeks you will need two (2) perfect weeks to qualify for the postseason the weekend of December 11th.
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