With the NFL season coming down the backstretch and the race for the playoffs heating up, Know It All Football will start looking closer at some teams who will be in the mix to make the playoffs and possibly a trip to the Super Bowl.
Each of our writers will be asked their opinion on a team, telling you what they like and dislike about each team and whether or not they have a shot to get to the Super Bowl.
First up, we take a look at the Chicago Bears, fresh off a win over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Let’s see what the writers had to say.
What I like: Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery make that offense legit along with Forte. McCown looks decent filling in for Cutler and while I’d never argue that McCown is a better overall QB then Cutler, he may have something Cutler doesn’t have: a killer instinct and a will to win big games. Cutler is going to try and rush back now, because B-Marsh and A-Jeff can make any QB look good.
What I don’t like: The defense has some holes, but is competent enough to compete and keep the Bears in most games. The offensive line has been much better this season, but could be the difference between them winning or losing when it comes to making the Super Bowl.
Verdict: The Bears have the talent needed at every position that counts. The only reason I would put them in the pretender category would be due to this new coaching staff and a defense that hasn’t been nearly as dominant as in the past. That said, they are as worthy of a candidate at this point of the season as anyone. I see them being a CONTENDER.
What I like: The Bears have playmakers galore on offense, from an elite kick returner in Devin Hester to a dual-threat runner and pass catcher in Matt Forte to two towering WR’s in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Couple that with Jay Cutler’s return from injury at just the right time and this team will once again be difficult to keep out of the end zone. Within the NFC North, there is a 3-way tie at the top with the Lions and Packers. The once-favored Packers are riddled with injuries, including one to Aaron Rodgers that, in my opinion, will cost them the playoffs. That leaves only the Lions standing in the Bears’ way. While the NFC West would seem to have one Wild Card all but locked up (SF or SEA), only the Carolina Panthers have shown legitimate signs of challenging the NFC North’s second place team for the second one. This bodes well for the Bears.
What I don’t like: These simply aren’t the ball-hawking Bears of years past that would win Fantasy Football games with ungodly number of sacks, turnovers, and defensive touchdowns. Last Monday, they struggled for much of the game (until late) to contain an unprepared Seneca Wallace and a rookie halfback in Eddie Lacy (with supporting vet James Starks doing some damage). They are suffering from some injuries too, but in the NFL, depth rules the day and the deep teams are the contenders. I think the Lions are a better team and have the best chance to win the NFC North outright. We also can’t overlook the late-season collapses that have haunted the Bears the past several seasons.
Verdict: The Bears are a strong contender for a Wild Card berth, but I don’t think they have the mettle to go deep into the playoffs. I’m calling them a PRETENDER.
What I like: The Bears appear to be one of few teams in the NFL with a solid backup quarterback they can lean on down the stretch. With the offensive talent around John McCown, I see little drop-off while Cutler is out. I love the two rookies (Kyle Long and Jordan Mills) on the left side of the offensive line and feel like this running game is set up for serious long-term success regardless of who carries the rock. I love Marc Trestman’s poker face on the sidelines. He always looks calm and focus – rarely flustered. I believe him team sees this and follows suit.
What I don’t like: Like everyone, the injuries on defense scare me. My fears are magnified when I see games with Detroit, Dallas, Philadelphia and Green Bay – who should have Rodgers back by then – still on the schedule. Rookie Jon Bostic is going to have to step up and play at a high level in the middle for the Bears to have a chance.
Verdict: They have five wins now and the offense alone is good enough to get them three more. I like this defense to get right and be the difference that pushes the Bears into the NFL Playoffs as a Wild Card. Once in the tourney, this squad has the potential to beat anyone. I see them as a CONTENDER.
PUBLISHED ON NOVEMBER 6, 2013