The Bears face the defending NFC champs as the Arizona Cardinals roll into town. I cannot emphasize the importance of this game enough. This is a home game against a potential Wild Card contender. Wins down the stretch will be tough to come by, so the Bears have to take advantage of opportunities. Win your home games and split on the road.
Dirty Uniform Test
Frankly, I’m getting tired of the writing the same keys to the game every week – run better this, defend better that, yada, yada, yada. Here’s my prediction – the quarterback whose jersey is the dirtiest will be going home a loser.
Kurt Warner is coming off a 5 interception game in a home loss to the Carolina Panthers. He is prone to make mistakes if under pressure. Rod Marinelli’s “Rush Men” had better step up their game. It’s iffy if one of Warner’s top targets, wide receiver Anquan Boldin, will play so the secondary can focus more attention on Larry Fitzgerald. Maybe they can hold the Cards down to 4-5 TD’s.
One the other sideline, the Bears need to do all they can to keep Jay Cutler upright. He got the crap beaten out of him last week against the lowly Cleveland Browns and won’t make it through the season at this rate. Cutler has been pretty good at home and has actually taken decent care of the ball.
We are who they thought we were
Last time the Bears faced the Cardinals, we got this infamous tirade video from then-Cardinals coach Denny Green:
So who are we? If we asked Denny Green today – who would he think we are? A running team? A passing team? A defense-oriented club? What do we do well? If we need 1 yard, can we pick one or two plays in the playbook that are our money plays? It’s time to establish an identity.
It’s not early any more. Time is running out. 7 games is a typical road trip in baseball; 7 games is nearly half the season in football.
Don’t miss opportunities
The Bears are converting less than half of their red zone opportunities into touchdowns. Missed chances against teams like the Browns lead to ugly wins; missed chances against solid scoring teams like the Cardinals lead to uglier losses.
No more false starts, especially by wide receivers. No more holding penalties on Devin Hester returns. No more 12 yard punts. It’s time to cut out the mental lapses and execute. Know your assignments and responsibilities on each play and execute flawlessly.
The Bears actually come in as a 3-point favorite. I’m a little surprised the Bears are favored, if only by the typical home-field advantage field goal. This is going to be a tough one that I expect to be a high scoring affair. I’ll take the Bears 33-31.