The Bears head to warmer climes to face the Arizona Cardinals, their former inter-city rivals. If they don’t pull off a win, their hopes for a playoff appearance will be dashed and I’d suggest that Lovie Smith and his coaching staff stay in Arizona because they won’t be welcomed back.
The Cardinals are sort of like the mini-Bears – they started off with a surprising 4-0 record before going into a tailspin and ruining a strong start to the season. Their offensive line might be worse than the Bears’ and their quarterback carousel reminds me of the Bears before Cutler came to town. Needless to say, those factors make the Cardinals offense abysmal, ranked 32nd in the league. But don’t go to sleep on these Cardinals either; they went out to New England earlier this season and beat the Patriots.
Their defense and special teams are stellar, like the Bears were before their collapse. They’re anchored by Patrick Peterson, a legit #1 cornerback who’s expected to be matched up on Brandon Marshall all day.
To help us get primed for this critical game we’ve reached out to longtime friend Scott Allen from Raising Zona for our weekly 5 Questions. Below are my questions and Scott’s answers.
1. The Cardinals QB situation is one which Bears fans can relate. We struggled for years to find Jay Cutler and we see where that’s gotten us. What’s your take on the Cardinals situation? Do they have anything to build on going into the offseason or is it a total overhaul?
It will be a complete overhaul. Well, I take that back. I can see a situation where they would let Kevin Kolb fight for the job again. It will all depend what’s out there at the draft and in the offseason. John Skelton is done in Arizona. Ryan Lindley I think has proven he isn’t ready.
2. The Cardinals defense has been a bright spot for the team. Will the struggling Bears offense be able to move the ball on the Cardinals defense?
It will be tough. Matthew Stafford, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson have combined for three touchdowns, 11 picks and a 23.4 QBR score against Arizona this season. They have 92 touchdowns, 33 interceptions and a 74.8 QBR score against everyone else.
3. The last time the Bears visited the desert they pulled off the unlikeliest of wins, coming back from a 20-0 deficit without scoring an offensive touchdown. It led then-Cardinals coach Dennis Green to give us his infamous “The Bears are who we thought they were” rant. In honor of that rant, who are the Cardinals? From your point of view, who are the Bears?
They are who Dennis Green thought they were, and we let them off the hook. Seriously though, this defense is championship ready for the most part. The offense is in shambles. They are 32nd overall. Not even a great defense like Arizona’s can overcome that and that has been proven nine times this season.
4. Finish this sentence. The Cardinals will win this game if they…
…maintain defensive pressure on Jay Cutler and contain the Chicago rushing attack.
And this one –
The Bears will win the game if they…
…manage to score two touchdowns.
5. What’s your prediction for the game, including a final score?
Chicago 23 Arizona 13
Thanks to Scott for helping to give us the opponent’s point of view. Be sure to head over to Raising Zona to get all the Cardinals skinny.