Six thoughts on NFL week four and the Bears’ forthcoming Monday-nighter in Dallas:
1. Watching Packers-Saints yesterday, I just couldn’t see either team winning. Meaning, it was hard to comprehend that either the Packers would drop to 1-3 at home, or the once-powerful and still talented Saints would fall to 0-4. But unfortunately the Saints did indeed drop to 0-4. With the very surprising Vikings winning a big game in Detroit, they lead the division at 3-1, with Green Bay at 2-2 and Detroit. Obviously with the Bears in position to stay a game ahead of the Packers or drop to a tie with them, tonight’s game takes on critical importance.
2. Speaking of the Vikings and Lions, I was rooting for Minnesota (not that my rooting had a thing to do with the outcome). But in my opinion Detroit is still the team to be more nervous about with their explosive offense. Then again, their defense may render the offense irrelevant. I could be wrong especially given that one of the teams Minnesota defeated was the 49ers, but I’ll believe the Vikings have staying power when I see them win a few more games.
3. So back to the “criticality” (that’s a word I hear NFL players use once in a while, whether it’s really a word or not) of tonight’s game. Being that I wrote “criticality”, I guess then I can also reference my “skepticality” during the days preceding the Bears’ Thursday night trip to Green Bay. Anyone that’s been reading this blog knows that I speak my mind, and many times my attitude to Lovie Smith’s Bears is skeptical. And I am skeptical, unfortunately, on the Bears playing another huge road game at night.
4. Why do I continue to be skeptical? Because in the Lovie Smith + Jay Cutler era especially, it seems that each time they go into a huge game they blow it, especially in prime time. The Packer game recently, any other number of critical Packer games (on the road in 2009), etc. Specifically, I think of the Dallas defensive line led by DeMarcus Ware shredding J’Marcus Webb. Or another nightmare like this year’s Packer game when the Bears kept in extra blockers but still didn’t have time for Cutler to remain calm enough to throw.
5. That being said, I also didn’t expect the Bears to have a chance on the road at Dallas in week two of 2010, and they really shocked the Cowboys and their nation of fans by dominating. So it’s not as if I have no hope.
6. Nothing ever goes totally as planned in an NFL season. The Bears have a prime opportunity to move to 3-1, tied for the division lead with a team in the Vikings that don’t scare me as much as Green Bay. This is critical. If they do drop to 2-2, it will be conceivable that this proves Chicago can’t play with the elite teams in the NFL. But I certainly hope they prove tonight that they will be as good as we thought they were going to be going into the 2012 season. They’re getting so much more out of their defense than anyone thought they would, so with some heady and brainy offensive play (finally), they can still be that team. But tonight’s game is critical.