The headline is misleading-I am purposely not posting links today because it’s too depressing. Undoubtedly the national media will fully pick the Packers, as will 99% of the Chicago media.
I never make predictions myself, which is good, because I am always much more of a realistic/skeptical Chicago fan than a kool-aid drinking nut that thinks there’s no chance my teams will ever lose. I still can’t figure out why almost everyone gave the Arizona Diamondbacks no chance against the Chicago Cubs. When these predictions happen, our teams usually get smoked, which is what is happening there. And I’m not happy about that either, but that’s another subject.
On a side note to the Bears-Packers matchup, I wanted to touch on the teams’ offensive lines. Since the great Bear lines of the 1980′s began to retire in the early 90′s, the Bears have in the majority of cases built their offensive line via free agency. And it has largely worked. The current edition of the Bears up front on offense started to come together in 2004 and finalized in 2005, with John Tait and Fred Miller at the tackles, Ruben Brown and Roberto Garza at guards, and Olin Kreutz at center. Note that Kreutz is the only player that was drafted by Chicago.
And add to that the fact that Brown and Miller are in the absolute twilight of their careers. Tait is getting close, and Kreutz may also now be on the brink. This line is surely going to have to be rebuilt starting next year.
Contrast this to the Packers. Prior to the 2005 season, I believe, Green Bay lost their stalwart guards Mike Wahle (to Carolina) and Marco Rivera (Dallas). What did the Packers do? They drafted young players to replace them in Jason Spitz, Darren Collidge and Scott Wells. And what has happened is the line bounced right back to high performance after a rough 2005. The young interior meshed completely with tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher, who are in the primes of their tenures.
Another key here is that Clifton and Tauscher were both draft picks of the Packers, and lower picks to boot. Mike Mulligan recently wrote in the Sun Times that there is only one place to find solid left tackles-in the top 10 picks of the draft. Clifton was a second-round gem, as was Tauscher in the seventh round.
So at least on the offensive lines, these teams are headed in complete opposite directions, with Green Bay heading straight up. You know how that bodes for the Bears. Not good.
So, looking at Sunday’s game, neither teams have a running game, which doesn’t hurt Green Bay as Favre and the passing game are on fire. The Bears have shown less than nothing on offense this season, so Green Bay is the obvious choice on this side of the ball.
The Packer defense is much improved in 2007. Although I’d still take a healthy Bear defense in a heartbeat, given that it’s likely Chicago will still have at least five starters out or limited, we’re now overmatched here.
What happened to the days when even if the Bears were overmatched talent-wise in a game, we could still count on a fairly inventive gameplan to keep things close? God forbid, and gasp, even Dave Wannstedt’s 1998 squad kept games very close in the first half by scheming properly (before getting blown out in second halves because their talent was abysmal).? Sure, the Bears have been in complete control of every game at halftime this season, but I attribute that to talent on defense, nothing else.? Then in two games they’ve been blown away in the second half and in the third the other team squeaked by.? My point of frustration is if the offense produced just a little-maybe we’d be 2-2 or 3-1 instead of 1-3 and looking up at, ich, a Packer team we should be putting out of their misery right now.
On any given Sunday night….if the Bears can get it together and banish this new losing mentality from their minds….but I’m not saying it.