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In the last installment of Over/Under, I likened Week One to Christmas. Well, Bear fans are not only enjoy playing with their toys, but they are rubbing it in the face of the neighbor kid - after the neighbor kid predicted "You are too poor to get a good toy." Oops.
So as you can imagine, a few of my friends sent me e-mails about how brutal I am. Some friends took time out of their busy schedules of being a calf fries salesmen and Bush Conspiracy Generators and posted on the forums. Yet another sent me a note immediately the game saying how bad my picks were. That note was the least productive of them all. It was like saying "Iraq was a bad idea." It's easy to dismiss a critical look before it happens, then rail against it afterwards. Can I have more of "Hindsight is 20/20" for $1400, Alec?
As I mentioned in the current Over/Under, I didn't realize Chicago was playing the UW-Green Bay Phoenix last week. My mistake. I didn't realize this until the Bernard Berrian TD, after which I rushed to the UW-Green Bay website to confirm my suspicions.
The greatest thing you can say about the Bears is that their Athletic Director did a fine job scheduling the Phoenix for Week One to provide a confidence boost, to be followed this week by the University of Detroit.
Let's take a look.
Plusses for Chicago:
1. Hurray for us, we are big kids now!
Gained 361 yards on offense. Allowed 267 yards on defense. One punt returned for a TD. Robbie "Neil Rackers" Gould converted all four attempts. Only punted four times at 47 yards/punt. As I recall, all four punts were in the second half while Chicago went into "Operation Shut Down".
2. Wax on, Wax Off. Balance important grasshopper.
Chicago did not need five RBs to carry the ball 40 times each. 36 rushes and 27 pass attempts. I don't have the first half stats, but I'm guessing the split was more 50/50 for the first half.
3. Let's get those nerds!
Remember how the Nerds in Revenge of the Nerds overcame all odds and defeated Stan Gable, Ogre, and the rest of Alpha Betas in the Fraternity Olympics? Sure, the Nerds had the javelin specifically engineered to Lamar's limp wrested throwing style; at the end of the day, the Abs played down to the level of the Tri-Lams. Chicago got those nerds. Nerds!
Minuses for Chicago:
1. What is this foreign land you speak of?
Something tells me Lovie was very concerned about moving the ball, so much so, they forgot what to do when they actually got close to the end zone. Once the Bears reached the 30-yard line, all that could be heard over the helmet speakers was the sound of crickets. The Bears solved this once by throwing it over the 30 and not even bothering with the red-zone offense. The other four times they got near, Chicago kicked field goals. Some days, the 70-yard TD pass or big return won't be there.
2. You see Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care.
Okay, here is a point on which I'm sure I will divert from the Kool Aid nation: The Bears did not seem to really care. If I were a Bears fan, I really want to see a statement against a bitter rival. Last year, the Steelers defeated the Newer Cleveland Browns 41-0. I loved every second. The year the Old Cleveland Browns won the Super Bowl (meaning the Baltimore Ravens), they crushed Kent Graham and the Steelers a whole bunch to nothing. That game still unnerves me. All I'm saying that you hate to see that lack of caring against a new, better opponent. To put it in perspective, does it bother you that your front four produced only one sack?
3. Who did we really play? A Division-II team?
On the flip side, I watched the Detroit Titans nearly defeat the Seahawks. As impressive as that sounds, Seattle showed very little in terms of a running game. One might say "Sure, it was due to the Lions defense." Given that Seattle dealt for Deion Branch, I'm guessing it was a lack of firepower, rather than Detroit skill that netted Seattle nine points. Detroit showed half of a good game; Detroit's defense tended to be around the ball constantly, and Detroit's passing game avoided it at all costs.
I'm beginning to buy into the theory espoused by Kenny the Packer fan when he said "The Bears are built to defeat bad teams, and lose to good teams." Detroit is not a good team, just barely better than a bad team. Chicago will still have trouble scoring TDs. By Week Eight, they might need to put Robbie Gould on a kick count.
At the end of the day, the lack of motivation and red-zone offense keeps Detroit within sniffing distance, again. The Bears start the year 2-0, and the fun begins Week Three against Captain Stuebing and the rest of the crew.
Pick: Lions +8, under 32 points
For a Bears win:
Sugar in The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid: 85%
Recommended sugar in The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid: 65%
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