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The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Slurpee-esque

You win some, you lose some. And sometimes you lose when you win.

So say many a sportswriter throughout the Internet.

Despite a convincing victory against the 49ers on Sunday, the Bears managed to draw the ire of their fan base by lowering their chances for a top three pick in the 2017 draft.

I'm not going to spend time dissecting the upcoming college draft class, as I possess neither depth of knowledge or (and this may have something to do with the lack of knowledge) the interest in college football to provide any insights.

How little interest do I have in academics, let alone minor league football?

It took 'til the third proofreading of this column to catch multiple instances of the word "collage" scattered throughout this section alone.

The notion of paying $80,000 - $200,000 to acquire a major in history, which grants you the right to spend most of your day creating pivot tables in Excel, strikes me as fundamentally disgusting.

Go learn carpentry. The world will always need tables, shelves and canoes. Might as well get paid $40 - $80 an hour for the trouble.

But back to academia's finest products - unpaid professional-caliber athletes in search of generational wealth.

The Bears will need some good ones to improve their lot in years to come.

Even if they were to end up with a 4-12 record, Chicago is still headed for a top five pick. All four of their upcoming opponents are gunning for playoff spots and are decidedly better teams. Given the state of the team (injured and poopy), winning one of the remaining games seems probable.

Wherever they end up picking, the Bears should be drafting best available talent, with an eye on the secondary. My hunch is that Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers (who is also an exciting return man) is there as late as sixth, and if he is, Ryan Pace should nab him.

Failing that, Pace will likely just reach into a hat filled with names of the remaining undrafted players coming out of Alabama, demonstrably shrug while looking at the camera, and then hold the piece of paper up to Rodger Goodell.

I'm only half joking.

My point is that it's still safe to root for your favorite team.

Even if they shock the world and go .500 the rest of the way, we're still looking at about a seventh pick overall, and that's a spot where you can pick up great talent.

Why, just look at the draft results for the last few years!

(Muttering to self as he furiously googles)

Let's see . . . 2015 . . . seventh overall . . . oh fuck, the Bears select Kevin White?!

Uh, let's keep going.

Ah, here we go! In 2014 Mike Evans was the seventh overall pick. My point exactly.

And 2013 . . . Jonathan Cooper . . . career marred by injuries . . . work ethic called into question . . . dammit.

2012 . . . Mark Barron . . . traded out of Tampa immediately . . . almost 100 tackles for the Rams in 2016 . . . close enough!

In any case, there doesn't appear to be an Andrew Luck-ish type sitting at the top of this draft.

The Bears' chances of hitting pay dirt anywhere in the top 10 are as good as anywhere else in the first round, so don't sweat a win or two.

What Worked

  • Defensive Line Play: The caveat of last week's Slurpee-esque field conditions notwithstanding (brought to you by 7-Eleven, sponsorship dollars please!), the Bears defensive front cancelled the San Francisco passing game faster than HBO axed Any Given Wednesday.*

    But if Matt Barkley can play well enough to win, 49ers fans (and people who enjoy pro/semi-pro/Pop Warner level football) can and should expect a better effort from San Francisco QBs. Slush be damned - give the Bears defense full credit on a dominating performance.

    Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman combined for three sacks and created sufficient havoc to allow the linebackers to pressure/sack the hapless Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert. Thanks to the men up front, ILB Nick Kwiatkoski had his best game as a pro and Leonard Floyd continued to bolster a resume that's rewarding Ryan Pace's aggressive 2015 draft selection (read: even though he looks good, still a reach) at ninth overall.

What . . . (Being Kind Here After A Fun Win) Left Something To Be Desired

  • Special Teams: I'm no football player, but I don't think you're supposed to fair catch a punt 15 feet from your own endzone. Bryce Callahan, I'll wait while you write that down. Throw in that weird delay-of-game flag on another punt, which was followed by the punt being blocked, and you got yourself a real special teams shit sandwich on your hands.
  • Speaking Of Hands, Josh Bellamy's: Don't let the final stat line fool you (94 yards receiving, 12 rushing); calling the material which constitutes Bellamy's hands "stone" is an insult to rocks, concrete or, hell, even construction aggregate. It's "stop, drop, and roll," not "stop and drop at your place of employment."

Eye On The Opposition: Detroit Lions: More Than Meets The Eye
Who woulda thunk it?

Matt Stafford is a pretty darn good quarterback even without Calvin Johnson (aka Megatron**).

The Lions have won twice as often as they've lost, boasting a division-leading 8-4 record. It's a bit of a "tallest midget" situation in the NFC North, but despite the winning record most analysts don't give Detroit much love.

Maybe it's because their defense isn't that good.

Or that they have virtually no running game to speak of.

Or maybe it's because all of their wins were of the narrow variety, with the exception of last week's victory over New Orleans.

Or that they haven't won a playoff game since Herman Moore was a rookie (for real).

Or because they're the friggin' Lions.

Or maybe it's because they've lost to the Bears, which given the current state of affairs at Soldier Field is quite a damning indictment on any of their opponents.

With all that said, the thing the Lions do well (and by "they" I mean, "he") is quarterbacking.

Detroit has few high-caliber options at receiver, so it's fair to say that their success in 2016 can be attributed directly to live action Son Of Krusty The Clown. If the Bears are going to notch another exciting/infuriating win this Sunday, they'll have to put a lid on Stafford.

Other than that, Bears, keep doing what you're doing***.

The aforementioned options include Notre Dame product Golden "Because I Was Covered In Egg Yolk And Butter When I Was Born" Tate, "Marvin-ous" Marvin Jones and tight end Eric "Probably Would Be An All-World Tight End If It Wasn't For This Blasted Knee" Ebron.

In general, Chicago keeps opposing tight ends in check, so expect a more downfield passing attack to Jones on Sunday.

If the Bears can get to Stafford before Jones can catch up to the deep heave, they've got a chance to make your day/continue to disappoint you!

Kool Aid (2 of 5 - Pints Of Liberty Street Brewing Pooh Beer)
As this is being written . . . it's f-in' cold here in Chicago.

And short of a house fire caused by faulty electrical wiring****, nothing warms me up quite like a delicious porter. This sweet seasonal brew has notes of honey and, more importantly, alcohol. You'll love it!

Aside from a race to the almost bottom, does Chicago have something to play for this week?

It's a division game, you're damn skippy they do.

Why?

Because fuck you, NFC teams within 500 miles of our fair town.

You want to get to the playoffs, you gotta go through Disappointment City.

The front seven have been great this year and they'll need to continue doing said great job (insert exclamation point, banana sticker) to contain the mobile Stafford. Like most smart QBs, he won't try to beat the Bears with his feet directly, but use his fleet feet to buy time for his receivers.

The "hand the ball to Jordan Howard" offensive schematic worked wonders last week; I say the Bears roll with it.

Good/Bad news is, it probably won't be enough to crack that elusive 23-point mark on the road (until last week, their season high in points scored), but it should be close.

Lions 23, Bears 20

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About The Author
The Author wasn't able to make it out to Ford Field this year, but the Author recommends the experience if you have a Sunday to burn, even if both of the teams competing are rarely good at the same time.

In related news, Mrs. The Author has expressed a certain amount of (The Author is searching for the right word) . . . disgust in the pictures selected for the final section of the BAOKAR and has requested that, if pictures of her must be posted to the Internet for time immemorial, more flattering pictures are provided.

The Author has considered his options and respectfully acquiesces to Mrs. The Author's . . . gentle suggestion.

MrsAuthor.png

* The show was not good, but in general I'm a fan of The Sports Guy. When you've finished ingesting all the great content at The Beachwood Reporter for the day, take a gander at The Ringer, Bill Simmons' spiritual successor to Grantland.

** Oh Christ, I just spent 45 minutes on YouTube watching clips from The Transformers: The Movie and found out that it was set in the "distant future" of 2005. And - wait a minute, this can't be right - Orson friggin' Welles was the voice of Unicron?! Realizing that Citizen Kane himself starred in a movie I saw in the theater is not making me feel any younger.

*** Which can apply to "putting pressure on the opposing QB" or "losing in spectacular fashion," depending on your rooting interest these days.

**** You said you wanted a working doorbell and the house was too cold, honey! Problem f-ing solved!

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Carl Mohrbacher is our Kool-Aid Korrespondent. He tolerates your comments.

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