So as the Bears ready themselves to play at Arizona for the first time since the 2006 “miracle in the desert,” common wisdom is that the Bears should easily handle the 5-9 Cardinals.
But after reading this article by Adam Jahns in the Sun-Times yesterday, I’m not so sure. (Honestly I was never sure-I put the Bears odds of being eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday as equal to their odds of winning).
Jahns points out that the Cardinal defense is strong, and excels at exactly what the Bears are good at: throwing interceptions and allowing sacks. Most telling is what Arizona’s defense did to Aaron Rodgers (46.7% completions), Matthew Stafford (three interceptions and a 37.6 rating) and Matt Ryan (five interceptions).
Granted, Arizona’s offense is more putrid than the Bears’. But one person out there tell me that they can’t visualize Cardinal cornerback Patrick Peterson dancing back with a pick-six after Devin Hester or Kellen Davis bobble a pass?
The Bears aren’t officially eliminated with a loss on Sunday unless the Minnesota Vikings pull off a huge upset at Houston. But for all intents and purposes they will be. Should the Bears lose Sunday, they would have to win at Detroit and several crazy things would have to happen, starting with several teams ahead of the Bears losing their last two games. I know that the last three years have proven that anything can happen in the NFL. But COME ON, if the Bears offense stinks at Arizona and they sneak in to the playoffs to lose immediately, all that does is ensure one and possibly two more years with Lovie Smith and his entourage.
I’ll say what I believe I have said before. If the Bears win out, look like they’re getting better on offense and they win a playoff game, I would support Smith coming back. If that happens, I would rather see the Bears make one last final one-shot attempt with this roster, IF they are able to add a few more pieces. Another receiver and a tight end to replace the incompetent Davis and Hester, a couple of pieces on the offensive line, etc. Go for broke.
The reason I say this is if Lovie goes (and he should if they miss the playoffs or sneak in and get crushed), it will be time to start from scratch. And that will undoubtedly mean the Bears will be in for some lean years not seen since the “Jauronstedt” days. I’m afraid the Chicago Cubs’ rebuilding process will look swift compared to what will happen to the Bears. Especially given the draft incompetence shown consistently over the course of 20 years.
The last time the Bears had to tear down an old team and build from scratch was in 1993 under Wanny. Remember how long it took for the Bears to get back to at least finishing around .500 year after year? 13 years. I also think of Matt Millen being hired to re-engineer a Detroit Lions team that barely missed the playoffs in 2000 (thanks to the Bears), and we all know how that has gone for them.
In two days, we’ll all find out whether the Bears continue to dangle from a thread, or they officially start the plunge to the Earth.
Hey, at least the world still exists today!