Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday Morning Quarterback 12/18/06

Sweet Home Chicago

Congratulations to my Chicago Bears who clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs, after defeating Tampa Bay in overtime 34-31. No time for Chicago to celebrate, especially after blowing a 21 point lead. The Bears offense looked great and the defense was great...most of the game. After Tampa Bay brought in Quarterback Tim Ratay, the Bears defense appeared to fall apart. Ratay marched the Bucs down with ease and soon the defensive walls came crumbling down. After Bears rookie sensation Devin Hester fumbled a kickoff, giving the Bucs a red zone possession, it became apparent the tide had turned. 3 plays later the Bears only had a 7 point lead.

5 minutes later the Bears lead was back up to two touchdowns. Unfortunately Ratay took advantage of a sleeping Bears secondary who allowed Bucs receivers to get ahead of them during two quick strike plays for 64 and 44 yards. The defense eventually came through giving the Bears the ball back deep in their own territory with about 90 seconds in regulation time. To the amazement of everyone, the Bears elected to run out the clock. I did not agree with this move, especially with Grossman throwing at will against Tampa bay all day. They also only needed a field goal. Lovie Smith took a gamble which paid off in overtime, but still not necessarily the right move.

Bears fans need to be concerned about the current status of the defense. Simply put they are not nearly as tough as they were early on in the season. They have become easy to run on and too often make bad coverage decisions in the secondary. Daniel Manning Jr. is undoubtedly the Mike Richardson of the team. During the 1985 Superbowl season Richardson was viewed as one of the leagues best, but in reality he was a good double coverage guy who often got beat one-on-one. Manning is the same.

Fans should also be concerned about the receiving game. I am greatly bothered by the fact that Mark Bradley is barely getting any playing time and Mushin Muhammed hands are about as reliable as the Cubs winning the World Series. The big contract receiver Muhammad dropped at least 3 passes yesterday including a perfectly thrown deep pass.

The bottom line is the Bears are the NFC favorite for the Superbowl, especially with home field advantage. However, the are going to have to make a few adjustments on both sides of the ball and eliminate petty mistakes if they are going to be playing football on February 4th.

Quick Note: The Denver Post is reporting that an off season trade may be in the works between the Bears and Broncos regarding RB Cedric Benson. Denver is apparently very interested in obtaining the back in exchange for a first round pick and another player. The rumor does make sense if the Bears decide they rather stick with Thomas Jones over the next few years and Denver believes Tatum Bell can't hold on to the ball and Mike Bell is as useful as a diaper pail.

Weekend Picks
Icky Bad!

After going 3-1 last week Paulies Picks will be lucky to go 1-3. Redskins over the Saints! After New Orleans destroyed Dallas last week, they looked like they couldn't beat Niles North High School this week. The Eagles may be a more balanced team with Jeff Garcia at the helm instead of Donovan McNabb. The Giants continue to suffer from Eli Manning sucks syndrome and Coach Coughlin anger lack-of-management. Regardless, of the reason, I blew it this week.

Da Bears!

Paulie

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