Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears drops back to pass under the protection of teammates Roberto Garza #63 and Olin Kreutz #57 against the Detroit Lions during the NFL season opening game at Soldier Field on September 12, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois.
The Opponent: The Chicago Bears, aka Da Bears. People, that sketch is nearly two decades old. It’s not funny anymore, especially if you do not happen to be George Wendt. Get more topical humor references, darnit.
The Line: Cowboys by 8.5. After being a big-time road favorite last week and blowing it, the Cowboys are still a huge favorite in their home opener. Again, this is not a good sign, especially for a team that looked about as organized as your city government last week.
Last Game: A 19-14 victory over Detroit that no one on Earth thinks Chicago deserved. The Bears turned the ball over four times and won only because Calvin Johnson’s game-winning catch was denied by the officials due to a vague rule that doesn’t really need to be vague at all.
The Coach: Lovie Smith. If there is one coach out there who could be fired by October, that coach is Eric Mangini. But if there are TWO coaches out there who could be fired by October, those coaches are Eric Mangini and Lovie Smith. Because really, Lovie should have been fired LAST year. Even Lovie wouldn’t challenge that.
The Offense: Last week the Bears unleashed their new Mike Martz offense and it delivered precisely what you would expect from a Mike Martz offense: lots of yardage and oceans of senseless turnovers. One revelation last week: Matt Forte, who looks revitalized in the new scheme and piled up over 200 total yards from scrimmage. I bet you had him on your fantasy bench, didn’t you? Fantasy football is so annoying like that.
The Defense: Julius Peppers was responsible for the divorce of Matt Stafford’s ball and socket joint last week. Now he gets to take on the disaster area that is the Cowboys offensive line. It’s hard to overstate just how putrid this line is in its present condition. They could get flagged for holding at an eighth grade dance. The Bears will likely move Peppers around and have him rush often from the right side against a banged-up Marc Colombo, or the ravaged corpse of Alex Barron.
Key Matchup: Peppers vs. Doug Free. Or Barron. Or Colombo. Basically, what I’m saying is that someone needs to block Peppers. Preferably successfully.
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