The Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts are set for a showdown at Soldier Field. This will kick off the 93rd season for our hometown franchise. So, let’s play the numbers game, so that you can show off your big brain to all your friends at noon on Sunday.
The Bears have a history of starting out the season with a bang, racking up a 52-35-5 record on opening day and a 63-25-4 record in their home openers. Under Lovie Smith, the Bears are 4-4 in their season openers and 6-2 in their home openers (winning their last three home openers). This bodes well for the Bears who will be going up against a rookie coach in Chuck Pagano and a rookie starting QB in Andrew Luck.
Jay Cutler has also had success in home openers, going 5-0 in his career, including a win over Detroit in 2010 when he threw for 372 yards and 2 TDs. With the additions of Marshall and Jeffery and an aging Colts defense that gave up a QB Rating of 103.9 to opposing quarterbacks last year, Cutler is set to have a big game. Hailing from Santa Claus, IN, I’m sure he will have some extra incentive to crush his hometown team as well.
The guy to look for on opening day is our newly rich running back, Matt Forte. In only four games, Forte has racked up 296 rushing yards, 259 receiving yards and 4 total TDs. He has only played one career regular season game against the Colts. Also his NFL debut, he dominated, rushing for 123 yards on 23 carries. The addition of Michael Bush might put Forte on the bench a couple more times than he would like, but the rest will do him good. I also expect Forte to catch a lot of balls out of the backfield.
The Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts have had a long history, dating back to 1953 when the Colts were in Baltimore. The Bears have fared well lately, winning five of the last six regular season matchups, but the Colts lead the series winning 23 of 41 matchups (including SB XLI in 2006). The Bears won the last meeting at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2008, 29-13, but the Colts won the last matchup at Soldier field in 2004, 41-10.
These two teams have a few player and coach connections as well. Ex-Bear Mario Addison is a second string linebacker for Indianapolis and Colts Offensive Line Coach Harold Goodwin was the Bears assistant offensive line coach from 2004-2006.
Two Bears cornerbacks used to man the secondary in Indy. Starter Tim Jennings played 53 games for the Colts from 2006-2009 and second string CB Kelvin Hayden brings his tainted Super Bowl ring to the Bears after spending 2005-2010 with the Colts.
Finally, keep your eye on the matchup of Bears WR Brandon Marshall and Colts CB Vontae Davis, who spent the last two seasons together in Miami. Their turbulent relationship came to a head last November when Marshall did not appreciate Davis’ apparent disregard for practice. The two men argued on the practice field and Marshall threw a football in Davis’ face, leading Davis to say that he wanted to “rip [Marshall’s] head off.” Currently, Marshall claims to have no hard feelings for Davis, but knowing Marshall’s temper, who knows what could happen. Hopefully, Marshall will be too busy dancing in the end zone all day.
So there you have it. You should be adequately prepared for a day of drinking, eating and watching the first game of the 2012 season for our beloved Chicago Bears. Let’s get this season started off with a victory. I know I’m ready. Are you?