Chicago Bears at Tennessee Titans Game Preview

Chicago Bears at Tennessee Titans Game Preview

DaBearsBlog - myself and Noah - are traveling to Nashville this weekend Bears vs. Titans and staying at the swanky hotel seen above. We are arriving with a mission: good food, great drink and the world's best Honky-Tonkin'. We'll be focused and driven. Will the Bears? I think so.

WHY DO I LIKE THE CHICAGO BEARS THIS WEEK?

    • I always like the Chicago Bears.
    • I was completely wrong about the Bears last Sunday against the Panthers. They were flat and lifeless. But I think a day or two of watching that tape will humble all 53 men on the roster and provide Lovie Smith with the kind of motivational tools a head coach often requires to inspire a good team mid-season.
    • It is Music City! And no football organization is responsible for sweeter music.

PERTINENT STATISTICS

Matt Hasselbeck's last four starts against Chicago:

  • 2010 Postseason: 24-46, 258 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
  • 2010: 25-40, 242 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
  • 2007: 30-44, 337 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
  • 2006 Postseason: 18-33, 195 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

Chris Johnson's only game against a Lovie Smith defense:

  • 2008: 14 carries, 8 yards, 0 confidence

Rankings for the Tennessee Titans:

    • Titans have the league's worst defense in terms of total yardage AND points, although Buffalo allows slightly more PPG.
    • Titans are 24th in yards per game on offense and 18th in points per game. They again they have also scored points like this:

ANALYSIS 

  • Tennessee has only eleven sacks on the season (even after attaining the Phil Emery-desired Kamerion Wimbley) so this should be a game the Bears are able to give Jay Cutler a decent enough pocket to look down the field. If they do I expect him to get the ball to Brandon Marshall and Earl Bennett with relative ease.
  • Tennessee is also among the league's worst run stopping defenses. Lovie Smith is Mr. Off the Bus Running and he can't be pleased with the way Tice/Cutler maneuvered away from Matt Forte Sunday. I expect the Double Deuce to have a big afternoon.
  • Tennessee have receivers of quality and  we've seen Matt Hasselbeck turn trash into trophies against the Bears. (Cough, Mike Williams, Cough) Nate Washington, Kendall Wright and Kenny Britt can each play and will be rough for the Bears to handle on the outside.
  • I don't know if Jared Cook's trade demands will influence his play on-field but he could prove a tricky match-up for the center of the Bears defense, especially if Brian Urlacher is limited in space.
  • Pass rush, pass rush, pass rush. If the Bears can pressure Hasselbeck consistently they will win the game. He lacks the mobility to extend plays and beat the Bears with improvisation. They need that consistency to develop opposite Julius Peppers on the outside from either Izzy, Woot or (I'd prefer) a more-involved Shea McClellin.

THRIVE/SURVIVE

  • Thrive: Devin Hester. The criticism of him has now left the receiver world and engulfed the return game. I think he hears it and breaks one against Tennessee.
  • Survive: Me, Noah. We have a poor track record at Bears games together and we need to break the streak. (Our last three as a pair: 2006 blowout loss at home to Joey Harrington, the blizzard blowout loss to New England, the 40-sack debacle in the Meadowlands.)

CHRIS JOHNSON & RUNNING BACKS GETTING PAID

I found myself in the middle of the Matt Forte contract debate this summer, with former Bears Jason McKie and Desmond Clark both taking an opportunity to jab my opinions on the Twitter machine. My points were simple: (1) Forte was, in fact, a great running back but...(2) great running backs are no longer worth the cap space they once were.

Look at the teams with HUGE money tied up in the running back position. Carolina has two such backs, one win and neither back has performed even moderately well this season. (The team is desperately trying to deal DeAngelo Williams.) Steven Jackson signed for more than double what Forte signed and has been on the field for about half the snaps since he put pen to paper. Trent Richardson warranted a top five selection in the draft and has not looked the part. Adrian Peterson, as I've written many times, is the exception because he is capable of scoring on every single play from scrimmage and may very well be one of the greatest running backs to ever live.

Enter Chris Johnson. CJ looked like the most explosive young player in the game. Tennessee gave him an $80+million deal (with a boatload guaranteed) after an extensive hold out. CJ has rewarded them by looking like a player who no longer interested in contact sports; wrapping up the ball AND his body prior to entering the atmosphere of a defender's planet. CJ's contract is Jason Bay. It's ARod. It was the last of a dying breed.

What the Bears (and to a lesser extent the Texans and Seahawks) did was re-set the marketplace for the running back position. And you'll see that play out as Maurice Jones-Drew and Ray Rice enter the coming off-season.

PREDICTION

I'm going to take a cautious approach. I believe the Bears could easily walk out of Nashville with a 25-30 point victory and charge into the more-difficult second half of the year. But I could also see Matt Hasselbeck playing error free football, moving the chains and keeping the Titans in it all four quarters. I'll go with the latter.

Chicago Bears 23, Tennessee Titans 16

Comments

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  • Excellent breakdown el Jefe. Have fun in da Music City, that hotel looks more like the Vatican than an actual hotel. We'll hold down the blog whilst you're away. Prediction?

    Bears 32
    Titans 13

  • I, too, predict an ass kicking since Hasselbeck is older and will become frustrated by the speed of the Bears defense.

    Bears 27
    Titans 13

  • SCHEDULE FOR SITE:

    Tonight: Picks Contest Standings and Bonus

    Tomorrow: Cam Worrell & Jim Wyatt from The Tennessean

    Saturday: Reverend's Rant & Picks Contest

  • In reply to Jeff Hughes:

    You forgot -

    Sunday: Watch the Bears kick the shit out of the Titans

    Monday: Bail Noah out of jail.

  • In reply to Jeff Hughes:

    Jeff I checked pollstar to see if there were any good bands playing in Nashville this weekend. CMT is hosting 2 huge shows which are probably sold out and nothing else jumped out at me. Not a country fan so I'm not exactly the last word on that genre.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    Country? No.

    Bluegrass? Hell Yes.

  • I don't mind the Old School Country but the popular stuff is just pop music with a twang. Not to mention always trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

    I like Bluegrass in limited doses. Saw Earl Scruggs in the early '70's and it blew me away. In the last 20 years or so, I just haven't sought it out. After a while it all runs together for me. The musicianship is top notch for sure. Up here I run into more Gypsy Jazz than Bluegrass. Lots of fun for one set.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    Well, Ace of Spades by Motorhead and Iggy Pop's Cold Metal are on my Top Ten list...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcf7DnHi54g
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHVB1f0f5vE

    ...which kind of give you an idea of where I am musically but that doesn't stop me from thinking the album set Will the Circle Be Unbroken by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is absolutely great stuff....

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    You should check out some Yonder Mountain String Band. Try Mountain Tracks Vol II. They're a modern take on traditional bluegrass. It's jamgrass with modern and traditional subject matter. Really fun live. Like Grateful Dead meats Bluegrass.

    I too can only handle it in small doses (except live). I only mention it because if I were in Nashville, that's what I'd seek out.

    And yeah, old country good. new country bad.

  • https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/224955296114679808

    Ray Rice is good...MJD is not.

  • Call me IBNO for short, or just "Captain Bleedyface."

    I just mention that, well, because my kid is barfy today and I'm working on 3 hours of sleep.

  • Poor bastard.

  • Denver and Chi-town carry my last $96.64 this week, -3.5.

    If they don't win it's been nice knowing you all.

    Last easy game.

  • I like the Lions -3.5 against the Jags, but I may have made a mistake and added the Saints at -3.5 against the Iggles......

  • Oh, and Matt Hasselbeck wants the ball and he's gonna score! Pick-6, game over.

    I hate anyone named Hasselbeck. Their stupidity and vapidity and their sheer conviction that they're smart and right despite being dumb as a box of rocks... makes me want to punch Mitt Romney in the face.

    Did I mention I've been dealing with toddler puke all night and am going on 3 hours of sleep?

    Go Bears.

  • Bears 34
    Titans 10

  • your handle should be:
    I Bleed Navy Blue...and light blue and royal blue and if you don't bleed the same blue you're a piece of shit and obviously have no fucking brain.

  • Just read that Tenn has scored on one of their first two drives in every game this year. Hasseldouche has always played well against us with the dink and dunk. He can frustrate the shit out of a defense by doing just enough to keep the chains moving. Hopefully father time and our DL catch up to him.

    I think the Beloved were properly embarrassed last week and will come out with a purpose.

    Bears 35-20.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    Also note that as I pointed out in the thread about Hester, Tennessee is one of two teams that have scored more special-teams touchdowns over the past three years, so Toub better have his crew ready.

  • In reply to SC Dave:

    I'm guessing the 2 TD's against the Kitties this year got his attention. Should be fun to watch!

  • Good post Jeff. BUT I'll be a bit more cautious on this one. Sure Titans are weak...but "any given Sunday" and all that.

    Bears SHOULD win.

    Bears - 24
    Titans - 21

  • I was at that blizzard blowout with Jeff and Noah by the way. It didn't get any better after they (and more than half the crowd) left at the half so maybe the jinx ain't so bad. It did, however, allow me to move down to the first row behind the south endzone and yell drunkenly at Amy Freeze on the jumbotron. Lots of menacing looks from security personnel. Good times.

  • In reply to Shady:

    Amy Freeze... has there ever been a better name for a weather reporter?

  • In reply to jrnymn17:

    She's kinda hot too. I was at the blizzard bowl as well. Omly game I ever left early. Never again.

  • Blogfadder (can I call you that yet?)... do you have something against the Browns specifically? First you predict they will end up regretting their selection of Brandon Weeden by end of season, and now you say Trent Richardson isn't looking like the top back he was drafted to be.

    So far Weeden is exactly what the Browns need at QB and seems better than half the QB's out there. Granted he's not an RG3 or Luck, and time will still tell whether he'll be chased out of town by end of season, but as of now he is right there with Tannehill and I'd say better than the dwarf-man in Seattle.

    As for Richardson, 470- 5 td's rushing and 29-209-1 td receiving. And this with a very porous o-line. These are (fantasy stat warning!!) good for 4th in a PPR league behind Arian, AP and Ray Ray.

    I'm just saying, I don't agree with either of these points...... but I digress.

  • In reply to Bender McLugh:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeZ1_lPRw4g

    kinda awesome

  • In reply to Bender McLugh:

    Man, that had to hurt!

  • In reply to Bender McLugh:

    Announcer: "Kurt Coleman will remember that."

    I'm thinking maybe not.

  • In reply to Bender McLugh:

    personally, I couldn't give a smaller fuck about the browns if I were a midget... that said, TR is a fuckng STUD! I'm a big fan and have been since his jr. year.

  • Unrelated question ---- the Trib is going to subscription only, $15 per month, to read any of their (mostly) dribble.

    Any suggestions for good Bears-Bulls-Hawks-Cubs (fuuuck some Sox) news sites?

  • In reply to Bender McLugh:

    I use espn.com/chicago and NFL north, Suntimes.com, Si.com, NFL.com, profootballweekly.com and sometimes the Daily Herald.com.

    Also, you can try cold hard football facts and football outsiders.

    The Trib was usually my first choice but I won't pay for it. If you register with them (it's free) you can get 4 pay articles/month. I'm going to use mine for Brad Biggs 10 things we learned on Mondays. Let me know if you find some other good ones.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    nice, thanks Canada

  • In reply to Bender McLugh:

    I'll miss Brad Biggs and to a lesser extent Dan Pompei but I'm not paying fifteen clams either. John McMullin over at Comcast is one of my favorites. They've got a few other decent writers too:

    http://www.csnchicago.com/football-chicago-bears

  • Congrats to Peanut for becoming the NFC defensive player of the month. Great honor and well deserved.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    completely deserved. Toss-up between him & Jennings?

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    Way to go Peanut!

    It's nice to know the rest of the NFL is finally seeing what we've seen for quite some time. He's been one of the best all around corners in the league since he became a bear. That includes the two or three years before the Lovie Cover Deuce era began.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    Two months in a row for a bear player!

    Peppers next month then?

  • In reply to DYLbear23:

    That would work. Then Urlacher, just in time to let everyone know he's back to square for the playoffs!

  • hee

    http://jukeleft.com/rob-gronkowski-wishes-there-were-way-to-end-phone-calls-other-than-spiking-phone/

  • Boom!

    Chicago Bears (6-1) at Tennessee Titans (3-5)
    When Brandon Marshall was acquired, Bears fans hoped he'd have an impact like Calvin Johnson, or at least, approaching that of Calvin Johnson. You make the call. Catches: Marshall 50, Johnson 41. Yards per catch: Johnson 15.6, Marshall 13.5. Touchdowns: Marshall 4, Johnson 1. Drops (per ProFootballFocus.com): Johnson 7, Marshall 5. Folks, we've got ourselves a legit competition.

    Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/peter_king/11/01/nfl-week-9-picks/index.html#ixzz2AzjB8pxp

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    MB! What's gotten into you, lad!? Recommending *Peter King*!?!

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    Irony: Megatron had 41 catches for only 40 more yards at the same point last year.

    Of course he ALSO had NINE more TDs.

  • Whistling the same tune I usually do....

    Caveat Emptor!

    There are no GIMMES and this week is no exception as these Titans already have the Steelers' Scalp hanging from their lodge pole.

    I am am sure I am not alone when I say that I think it's time we see some CONSISTENT production from this heretofore
    much-ballyhooed Bear Offense which, so far, has been more sizzle than steak.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    With ya all the way Al. I just don't see the Beloved taking them lightly after last week's performance. Not to mention, Hasseldouche has played well against us every time. I'm sure the veterans will remind the younger players.

  • I think Hasselback's best effort will be to score 20 or so on the Bears D and not allow any defensive scoring (isn't it amazing that we expect that from our D now?)

    The test for the Bears then will be (1) no special teams gaffs; (2) a solid, productive offensive effort in the range of 25 points; (3) no dumb offensive turnovers.

    That puts pressure on the O-line to keep Jay clean. It puts pressure on Tice to keep his play calls balanced if not conservative. It puts pressure on the WRs to convert more 3rd downs.

    I would love to see the Bears run on first and second down at least 5 times in the each half. I would love to see Forte and Bush combine for 200+ on 40 carries. I would love to see Earl get 5 catches.

    Cutler going something like 15/22 with 6 to Marshall, 5 to Bennett, 2 to Forte, 1 to Hester and 1 to Davis will be just fine for me.

  • In reply to NewBearInTown:

    6 to Marshall would be like driving your Porsche in traffic during the week.

    I agree with everything you said except that Marshall needs to grab at least 8 - 10 at the minimum. Please don't think that we need to focus on spreading the ball around. Jay knows what he needs to do.

    We didn't bring Marshall in to be Earl Bennett. We brought him in to generate a 9 minute highlight film of all Bears plays. We brought in Earl Bennett and Alshon Jeffrey to be a huge version of Earl Bennett.

  • Butch's Titan Thoughts...

    First Smith Bear-Killer (He almost did it again, if he caught that TD pass, it would have been over. But for some cosmic reason, Smith can rack up 200 yds, but not TDs against the Bears), now Hasselbeck! However, these aren't your typical cover-2 Bears, Mr. Hasselbeck.

    First off, I couldn't believe I kept reading last week how Peanut would have to shut Smith down. "Experts" that 'tarded? Lovie now has equal confidence in Peanut and Jennings, and he always puts Peanut on big bodied WRs and Jennings on the smaller faster ones. He even took it a step further in the Lion's game and put Hayden in the line-up for size. That's what he's gonna do again. Peanut will cover the 6'3 230 Britt (their Marshall, only he's always inj). Britt has been a few catches away from breaking out, so Peanut better be ready. If it weren't for having to switch back and forth from Hasselbeck to Locker and learning a new system, Britt would be a lot more dangerous, and is on the brink of a blowout performance (his stats or knees, which ever comes first). Peanut is too good right now to let that happen on his watch though.

    Jennings will be on Washington and/or Wright. Washington is about 6'2 177 and more of a possession receiver (ala Bennett), while Wright is their homerun threat. Wright will be a sneaky threat who will test Conte/Wright who sometimes let guys get passed them, so the Bears should be ready. I expect the Bears will want to shut down CJ first, which means that Conte/Wright will be sucked into the backfield, while Wright blows by, so they better stick to their reads and angles. Luckily, Hasselbeck doesn't have Locker's arm, so it's not like he can just chuck it 40 yds down field, which greatly shortens the field for our secondary. I expect a lot of 1 safety high, so maybe Conte/Wright will be on the TV screen this Sun.

    Cook is a very athletic TE, about 6'5 250 and runs fast. He's been underutilized but can be very dangerous esp against our system. When his agent wanted a trade, I was seriously thinking Emery might be doing his due diligence on Cook (Cook can't run block though, so there's that). However, Roach has been covering really well this season, so I don't expect a huge game from Cook (and like I said, I expect safeties to be down low, so the middle routes are gonna be crowded).

    Now, to CJ...contrary to popular belief, CJ has NOT been sucking lately. He started off roughly, but that was more due to the Oline struggling and a new system. What running game comes out strong game 1? CJ has gained 141 yds against the vaunted Texan's D, 91 yds against Steelers, 99 yds against the Colts and 195 yds against the woeful Bills. And if it weren't for the Titan's D sucking so much and making the team continually play from behind, CJ would be racking up more yardage. This is why I believe the Bears will drop down their safeties and take their chances with the Noodle-arm Hasselbeck and his questionable WRs.

    The key, as always, is pressure from our front four. Hasselbeck will do a lot of 3 step drops, so I don't expect a lot of sacks, but I do expect a lot of pressure which disrupts his timing. I also like our CBs to sit on a couple of routes knowing Hasslebeck prefers shorter routes, so I predict a 2 int game, continuing the secondary gravy train.

  • I also want to add that Hasslbeck won't be his usual effecient self because this Bear D differs than those he faced in the past.

    1) We don't strictly play the Cover-2, so Baldy can't just throw slants all day. We mix in a lot more man and Cover-3 with occasional nickel blitz, or even a 3-4 with Shea dropping back.

    2) Our pass rush has a lot more fresh bodies, which means his dinking-dunking time consuming drives won't wear out our D as much.

    3) Our corners are playing out of their minds, and for once we got a safety combo on the same page.

    All these will cause Baldy more problems than usual, but I don't expect a Romo meltdown cuz he's still perhaps the best "Manager" QB out there starting.

  • I remember that game. 2008.. Orton was hurt. Rex had to go in. We lost by a touchdown at home.

    Chris Johnson wasn't Chris Johnson when we played him, but then again, is "Chris Johnson" Chris Johnson? I think the money and mind games have made him play too safe. Something a running back can't afford to do but he can.. if that makes sense.

    The Titans starting left tackle is out. Which is good because he is pretty damn good. I can't see the Titans winning but like Jefe said, stop Hasselbeck or pressure him and there will not be problems.

  • Hey Artoo - how's that man-crush on Trent Richardson working out?

  • In reply to MikeBrownhadaPosse:

    !El conejo muerto!

  • In reply to MikeBrownhadaPosse:

    You mean.. this guy?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yDH6x5JW7M

    http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap1000000062713/Trent-Richardson-highlights

    or this guy?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLmm6uPLNpI

    Stats!
    Trent Richardson
    470 yards rushing, 209 receiving yards, and 6 total touchdowns..

    Matt Forte ( Whom I love and glad we have)
    436 yards rushing, 134 receiving yards, and 2 total touchdowns..

    The one thing I pointed out to Jeff and he agreed that it was a fair point is how the Browns have no one outside of Trent Richardson. Seriously.. the guy is carrying his team.

    Yeah.. did that answer you question? Where is Irish at?

  • Forte was a mid-second round pick.
    Richardson was top 5.
    Forte has a productive backup that has 247 rushing yards and 3 TDs.
    Richardson has Montario Hardesty..
    Forte has Brandon Marshall (675 yds receiving).
    Richardson has...well, Trent Richardson.
    Forte has only 34 few yards on 32 fewer carries.

    And in comparison to Mark Ingram, (who was a who as a rookie was in the most pass-happy offense in the league, only started 4 games, and only played in 10, he doesn't exactly stand out.
    ..
    I thought Cleveland was getting the next Jim Brown and that we should sell out to grab him because he was an unparalleled phenom at the RB position.
    The guy is averaging 3.7 YPC and his receiving yards are up because his QB has to dump the ball off due to zero receiving threats in Cleveland.

  • In reply to MikeBrownhadaPosse:

    Man, I need to proof-read. Guess I'm out of practice.

  • In reply to MikeBrownhadaPosse:

    Let's not forget that Matt has two fewer games played.

    Not trying to dis Richardson, but I'm sure glad we didn't do something stupid like trading him, as was suggested more than once on this blog.

    My position has been very consistent on two guys for three years now, and they are Matt and Earl. Exactly the kind of football players I want on the team I root for.

    I will say that Marshall has been more than I expected - especially his contributions to the locker room and *on the practice field*.

    This team could be soooo good. Here's to peaking in early 2013.

  • In reply to MikeBrownhadaPosse:

    Posse!

    Shit man. Haven't seen you for a while. I need to know what row and section to get my tickets in. And if you can still find the link to that one guy's seat, let me know.

  • It was section 349, row 7...I'll look for and post a link if I can find one.

    I might be around this weekend.

  • Bears 31-13
    D-line gets consistent pressure. Only one or two big pass plays. CJ gets some yards on the ground but no break-away runs for real damage. Opportunistic secondary gets a couple of picks/fumbles.
    Offense gets Forte more involved and gets an early two-score lead. Then they use play action to put the game away in the second half as Cutler blows open the game with Marshall, Bennett, and Hester.

  • In reply to bearsfanatic:

    See, I hope you are right about everything except the play action.

    The play action isn't really working so well yet. I think they need to actually run when they show run, and pass when they show pass. Play action is great on paper, but the plays take time to develop and time is Cutler's greatest enemy.

    I hope the offense gets Forte more involved and gets an early two score lead. Then they use a one-two punch of Forte and Bush to drain the clock the rest of the game. Basically, they run it all day.

  • In reply to NewBearInTown:

    Play action generally works better when you've been running the ball with success. For some reason, Tice likes to try it before ever handing off the ball.

  • I predict Hassle-chode leaves with a broken hip by half.

  • The Patriots traded for Bucs cornerback Talib..

    I have to say the move sounds decent.. only cost the Pats 1.8 million, a draft pick, and the contract is up after this season. No one knows how high the draft pick is but it can't be too high considering the situation.

  • @TBBuccaneers: The trade details: CB Aqib Talib and a 2013 7th-round pick for a 2013 4th-round pick.

  • Quick enquiry folks....do you guys put your clocks back before or after the games are played on Sunday? I missed the first hour of the Panthers game cause I worked til 5 and normally the game would have started at 6. Cheers.

  • In reply to DYLbear23:

    I believe the extra hour is offically the 2am-3am hour. So that's the one I double up or skip if I'm awake. Otherwise, I just set the clocks before bed.

  • In reply to NewBearInTown:

    Seems like they do it whichever way will screw me out of an extra hour of drinking. So 2-3am sounds about right

  • In reply to NewBearInTown:

    Thanks, guess I'll have to try and get outta work early this week.

  • Lance Briggs limited today with a toe injury. OT Jonathan Scott (groin) did not practice but hopefully is back tomorrow

  • I went through that Top 50 Bears thing on ESPN again. Damn, we've had some ballers.

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