Welcome to the 2012 Chicago Bears season!!! In Week 1, the Bears open at home against the Indianapolis Colts. They’ll face a couple of rookies in first year head coach Chuck Pagano and the #1 overall draft pick Andrew Luck. With a quick turnaround to a critical Week 2 matchup against their division rival Green Bay Packers, this games sets up as the 5th preseason game.
CHICAGO BEARS (0-0) vs INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (0-0)
9/9/12 at 12 Noon
TV: CBS, Dan Dierdorf and Bryant Gumbel with the call, check coverage map here.
RADIO: 780 AM, 105.9FM in Chicago.
When the Bears have the ball
The popular thinking around Chicago is that this is going to be the Brandon Marshall coming out party. I think that with the Packers game just days later, the Bears may not choose to show everything they want to use in Green Bay a few days later if they don’t need to. Matt Forte has put up ridiculous numbers in season openers, so I think the Bears try to keep Andrew Luck and their own defense off the field and go to more of a running and short passing game.
The Colts are in a state of transition. Besides officially turning the page from Peyton Manning, they’re also breaking in a new coach in Chuck Pagano, who was the Ravens defensive coordinator in 2011. He’s turning the Colts’ defense, which used a lot of the same Cover-2 elements that the Bears embrace, and is moving to a 3-4 defense. That puts former defensive ends Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney into new positions as outside linebackers. If you followed HBO’s Hard Knocks, you’ll also recall that Vontae Davis was traded from the Dolphins to the Colts, so he’ll probably draw the Brandon Marshall assignment.
When the Colts have the ball
Make no mistake about it, this season is all about Andrew Luck and his development. He has a familiar target from Stanford in tight end Coby Fleener and a long-time Colts receiver Reggie Wayne. Both should get plenty of chances on Sunday. On the ground, it looks like it’s finally Donald Brown’s turn to carry the rock.
For the Bears, they bring back many familiar faces on defense, most notably Brian Ulacher and his injured knee. If I were the Colts, I’d put #54 to the test in the run game and the passing game. Coby Fleener might be the beneficiary.
It’s rare that the Bears have more than their D/ST as strong fantasy plays but there are a few offensive players worth a look if you play fake football. Matt Forte is a no-brainer as is Brandon Marshall. In deeper formats (or if you’re a goof like me and benched Tony Romo vs the Giants), Jay Cuter is a decent option at QB. That D/ST and kicker Robbie Gould are good plays as usual.
For the Colts, Andrew Luck may in fact become the real deal, I just don’t expect that on Sunday. If you’re looking to make a risky couple of picks, you can try Coby Fleener or Reggie Wayne, who could rack up some points testing the Bears pass defense, while running back Donald Brown could have value while against a Bears run defense which has looked a little shaky in the preseason.
The Colts will not be as awful as they were last season, but it will take time for the newcomers to get their system in place. For the Bears, consider this their fifth preseason game. It could be easy to look past the Colts towards the Packers on Thursday night – and you can bet they’ve spent at least part of the last couple of weeks working on that game plan – but the Bears have too much firepower for the Colts to keep up. Matt Forte will be busy in the running and passing game while the Bears show enough Brandon Marshall to thrill the home fans. The defense for the Bears will be tested and look shaky at times and Brian Urlacher kicks off the rust. Rookie Shea McClellin earns his first career sack and shows the motor and hustle that will endear him to the fans.
Bears 34, Colts 24