The Chicago Bears will be 16-0 this season...

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New Bear Julius Peppers makes his impact on Lions QB Matt Stafford, who felt enough of it to stay out of the game following this fumble-causing sack on Sunday

... or 1-15. Three days after what was arguably the most exciting game played on Sunday in the NFL, there is still very little that fans can take away from the win against the Detroit Lions. The Bears won the game because of an accurately-called rule which overturned what would have been a game-winning touchdown thrown by the Lions back-up quarterback, Shaun Hill.

While those points will not show up on any scoresheet or in any stat books, all Bears fans, and most of the nation, saw the Bear defense get burned on that play. In the end, the Bears won, but they easily could have lost the game. Some are riding high on the first week's victory, focusing on the positives offered in the game. Others are wondering what almost losing a game to the Detroit Lions means for the rest of the season.

Had the Bears lost this game, most fans would surely be sending out hope like kamikazi pilots onto the Chicago streets. Pedestrians, taxi drivers, beggars, and suits alike would be under constant verbal assault from fans unable to contain their disgust for their beloved Chicago Bears. The city would literally be in an uproar. So, are we silenced simply by a catch in the rule book? (pun intended)

Enjoying the Bears' 1-0 is a fantastic thing to do, and after watching the Cowboys drop their opener 13-7 to the Washington Redskins, there may be some small slivers of hope for the Bears to jump out to a 2-0 start following this Sunday's bout in Dallas. However, this comes down to whether or not the Bears' offensive line can play better against a Dallas defensive front that is much more talented than the one the Lions threw at them this week. The Bear defense will certainly have to step-up as well.

If the Lions were able to put together two scoring drives, and nearly a third rapid and easy one at the end of the game, that leaves a lot of doubt as to how well this defense will play against the far superior Cowboys offense. Likewise, the Bears could play sharper and find a way to beat the Cowboys on Sunday. Despite his two fumbles, Matt Forte had an impressive, stand-out game against the Lions, and Jay Cutler certainly showed that he is capable of earning the spotlight by going 23/35 for 372 yards, 2 TD, and 1 INT against the Lions. The Bears defense shined at certain moments throughout the game as well. If the defensive line can apply more pressure to Tony Romo and company, this will allow for Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher to make the kind of impact plays they did last Sunday again this Sunday in Dallas.

Tony Romo.jpg

Tony Romo and the Cowboys should present a bigger challenge for the Bears this Sunday

However, the Lions were able to exploit the Bears' challenged offensive line. This only equated into one Jay Cutler interception last week, but Dallas' secondary is much more capable of turning the ball over than the Lions'. Cutler will likey have less time to handle better coverage this upcoming week, and since the defense will certainly be challenged more by the likes of Romo, WR Roy Williams, and others than what the Lions brought to the table this week, it is still easy to see the Cowboys being able to exploit the Bears' weaknesses better than the Lions did.

Last Sunday showed us that the Bears can be beat by inferior teams, but it also proved that they should be able to outlast such teams. This Sunday will show Bears fans how critical the team's weaknesses will be to the outcome of games when they play against talented and, likely, winning teams like the Cowboys.

If the Bears defeat Dallas, I officially claim this season to be one that will keep Bears fans rooting till the end, even if it ultimately ends up being what I predicted: a 7-9 season. Most 7-9 teams are in the playoff hunt until the end, when they drop the last two to three games on the schedule, so this scenario could easily see Bears fans keeping slim playoff hopes alive until the bitter end. If things go a little more right than I think they will, that record could flip to 9-7 and possibly see them legitimately battling for a final playoff seed.

The Cowboys will be hungry to avenge their opening day defeat. The team surely is looking to dismantle the Bears by the seams, exploting Lovie's weaknesses to a victory in front of the home Dallas crowd. If the Bears lose to the Cowboys this Sunday, fans may take a different look at last week's game. At 1-0, we feel like the Bears escaped with a win in a game that, going into it, we knew they should have won. If this Sunday brings us a loss, then at 1-1, the game against the Lions may look like a debacle that the team narrowly escaped from.

If somehow the Bears beat the Cowboys in an upset, then 2-0 is starting to look pretty exciting, as the team surely must have done something notably well to earn that win over Dallas in Texas. The important game-mark is still at four for me, though. If the Bears are 2-2 following four games, I will hold strong to my 7-9 prediction, but the 9-7 or 10-6 playoff run would not be out of the question. A 1-3 start, to me, signifies that intangibles will not be going the Bears' way this season and that their weaknesses will be too much to overcome. At this point, I would be dreading a four-to-six win 2010-11 campaign for our Bears.

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LOOKING AHEAD: With both teams starting 1-0, week three's matchup of the Bears against Green Bay could see the two teams battling for sole possession of first place in the NFC North

If Dallas wins on Sunday, a 1-3 Bear start looks very possible with the Packers and New York Giants coming up next. Obviously, if they beat the Cowboys, then at worst, after four games, the Bears would be .500 and they would be positioning themselves to shock the NFL with the chance to be 3-1 or even- dare I say it?- 4-0. Basically, after only one game, all we know is that the Bears barely beat the Lions and that that may or may not mean anything else in relation to the rest of the season.

The important thing to take away from last week's game is that the Bears will not be out-of-your-mind horrible this year; they may still be bad, but horrible looks like a stretch. Any other definitions will simply have to wait for fans to have the evidence to decide on them. The good news is that if the Bears can win the next game against Dallas, things are looking about as good as they could for the remainder of the season.

Losing to Dallas would keep some aspects of the team under debate for at least another week or two, but a win in Dallas would certainly be a statement game for the Bears; the team would then be on track to make a legitimate run at success this season. A loss does not kill hopes for an above .500 season, but it would make our mediocre roster look like the problem we all thought it would be heading into this season.

For now, the BEARS are tied for first place. Hopefully that will be the prize for the winner of week three's Green Bay/Chicago matchup at Soldier Field... if not, the season may simply continue to unravel and fall apart throughout the fall and into the cold, cold approaching winter.

Comments

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  • Adam,

    A couple of things. First, had that catch been ruled a TD, it wasn't necessarily the game winning TD. There were still 24 seconds left and the Bears had all 3 timeouts. Best cast scenario for the Lions is that after that TD, they convert a 2pt attempt, only putting them up by 3 points. And every Bears fan knows what can happen in 14 seconds, let alone 24.

    Next, the Bears barely beat the Lions in 1 category. Points. Still it's a W. The Bears demolished the Lions on offense and defense. If it weren't for a few turnovers the non-catch would be the last thing people were talking about. After Week 1, the Bears are tied for the #1 offense and have the #2 defense. In my book, that doesn't indicate that the Bears barely beat anybody. That indicates that the Bears manhandled someone.

    Like I said, except for a few turnovers, it was a great game by the Bears. The fumbles, I'm not to worried about yet. Matt Forte isn't known to be fumble prone, and it's highly correctable. The fumble by Greg Olsen on the other hand, not to sure about. If memory serves correct, Olsen has dropped a few others on key plays. The lone interception thrown by Jay Cutler was completed through a circus act. Had he had an inch exta lift on the ball, it's a completion.

    Next week against the Cowboys I think the Bears stand a good chance. They are one of a few teams whose offensive line looked as bad as, or worse than the Bears. As easily as they can exploit our o-line woes, we can exploit theirs.

  • In reply to Num1Phat:

    Wow, you are all over the place here. While I will not argue with any of the stats you highlight, I feel compelled to point out that the score was 19-14; that is not "manhadling" as you put it. That is beating a crap team by less than one score.

    Secondly, "a few turnovers" nearly cost them the game this week and, again, pointing out how bad the Lions are should only make you more concerned about an increasing amount of key turnovers against better teams. Forte may not be known for his fumbling, but Greg Olsen surely is. Furthermore you saw Aromashodu drop a sure TD pass, and we all know how shaky-at-best Hester has been as a WR. Knox is likely your best WR option, and on a good team, he is at most a second or third receiver.

    Lastly, I think the Bears do have a chance to beat the Cowboys. The O-line problems hopefully should help the Bears, but that doesn't make me beleive in the Bear O-line any more, especially against Ware and the rest of the Cowboy defense. Furthermore, one would have to expect the Cowboy offense, which is miles above what the Lions bring to the table, to be able to move the ball with better concistancy and effectiveness than the Lions did.

    I wouldn't be shocked if the Bears won, but I'm not placing any bets on it. Thanks for reading and responding.

  • In reply to adamtranchida:

    LoL, while I appreciate the response, I think you might have a slight comprehension issue.

    First, nothing about my response was "all over the place."

    Second, I specifically stated that outside of the points (19-14), the Bears putting up numbers rating them the #1 Offense and #2 Defense would indicate that the Bears manhandled the Lions. Something that you obviously failed to comprehend based on your response.

    Third, "a few turnovers" did not nearly cost us the game. While it didn't help matters, what nearly cost us the game was the lack of over the top help from a safety on Calvin Johnsons near TD catch.

    Fourth, you tried to argue with me by inadvertantly agreeing with me. You stated that "Forte may not be known for his fumbling, but Greg Olsen surely is." Now, if you re-read my post, you shoud clearly see that I stated, basically, the same thing!

    On another note, a 1 - 3 start signifies absolutely nothing about the remainder of the year. Not trying to compare the three, but how did the Chargers start last year and how did they end up? How did the Broncos start last year and how did they end up?

    I'm just saying.

  • In reply to adamtranchida:

    Here, I must agree with Mr. Phat. Lets not let our anxiety about the Bears cause us to over-react. Certainly, they have a chance to win 4 or 5 games this season. And if a couple of those wins occur early on, serving as confidence boosters, well, you can add a couple more wins. Toss in a couple of lucky breaks and a little surprise talent.... voila! Wild Card Fever!!

  • In reply to adamtranchida:

    Hmmmm. Looks like I was more right than you!

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