Bears in 1st Place in NFC Norris Division!
The Chicago Bears beat the Arizona Cardinals 16-14 to close out “Bird Week”. The first victory in “Bird Week” came against the Seattle Seahawks the previous Monday. So that’s 2-0 with no “fowl” play. Cue the referee……”We’ve got a personal fowl…..on the Dutch Lion…….for a really bad joke…….repeat 1st Down!”
Let’s get right to the Game Balls, the Player of the Week, and our Predictions. Then we can preview the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game on Sunday.
RB #29 Tarik Cohen – Cohen rushed 5 times for 53 yards and had 3 catches for 15 yards. These weren’t overwhelming stats by any means but once again it proved that Cohen needs to get more touches moving forward. So far, Cohen has had only 8, 5, and 8 touches from scrimmage through the first three games. That’s not enough for a supreme playmaker with the game-changing ability offered by Tarik. For a struggling offense, you’d think Chicago would be trying to get the ball in his hands more. Here’s guessing on Sunday vs Tampa that Cohen gets more than 10 touches and hopefully even 15.
S #39 Eddie Jackson – Eddie played a really solid game at Arizona. He had 3 tackles, 1 PBU, and 1 INT. Jackson’s interception was his 3rd career pick in 19 career games. More big plays from Jackson are important for this Bears team and are to be expected this year.
DE #96 Akiem Hicks – We’ve raved about Hicks for so long now that it’s getting to be old hat. I guess we keep bringing up his name because he stands out, yet also because we feel like he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. In the Arizona game, Akiem recorded 4 tackles, 2 TFL’s, 1 Sack, and 3 QB hits. For his career, Hicks now has 27 Sacks, 5 Forced Fumbles, and 4 Fumble Recoveries in 7 seasons including the last 3 with Chicago. He’s in his prime and a big reason why the Bears have a top 5 defense in the NFL.
Player of the Game
OLB #52 Khalil Mack – For the second time in the first three games, Khalil Mack has dominated to the point that we have to give him our Player of the Game Award. What needs to be said? Not much. Let the numbers do the talking: 5 tackles, 3 TFL’s, 2 Sacks, 3 QB hits, and one new leader of this incredible Bears defense.
In last week’s Arizona Preview, “Dutch Lion” wrote:
“Chicago is favored by 6 points according to Wednesday’s Chicago Tribune. Even though I’m a bit worried, I’ll take the Bears both S/U and ATS. Chicago Bears 23, Arizona Cardinals 13″
RESULT: Chicago Bears 16, Arizona Cardinals 14
- We were right about being worried, and close on the final score. We were only off by a total of 8 points. Nevertheless, the Bears won S/U but not ATS.
- Chicago Bears : 2-1
- Dutch Lion : 3-0
This Sunday the Chicago Bears (2-1) return home to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) at Noon at Soldier Field. This is a chance for the Bears to continue pacing the NFC Norris Division and pick up more ground on Green Bay, Detroit, and Minnesota. The Vikings already lost at the L.A. Rams on Thursday night and continue to struggle thus far, opening up a spot in the division for Chicago to take over.
Tampa Bay has been surprisingly good so far in ’18, seemingly due to “Fitzmagic”. Veteran QB #14 Ryan Fitzpatrick has turned up his game with age. So far he’s thrown for 400 yards in all 3 games (that’s a new record). Now in his 14th season out of Harvard, Fitzpatrick has 1230 passing yards, 70.3 completion %, 11 TD’s and 4 INT’s.
Can the Bears stop Fitzpatrick from becoming another edition of “Fitzmagic”? I think so. Watch for Chicago to make Fitz look like the journeyman he has been for most of his career.
Watch Out For………
The Bears secondary – Fitzpatrick is a throwback in that he likes to throw long. He has fantastic deep weapons in WR’s #13 Mike Evans and #11 DeSean Jackson. Can Chicago’s DB’s keep up with these WR’s? Can CB’s #23 Kyle Fuller and #20 Prince Amukamara withstand the aerial barrage? With help from the pass rush, I think they can. Safeties #39 Eddie Jackson and #38 Adrian Amos will make some big plays to help the Bears shut down the Bucs passing game.
Week 4 Prediction:
Chicago is favored by 3 points according to Saturday’s Chicago Tribune. Once again, “Dutch” will take Chicago both S/U and ATS!
Chicago Bears 27, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17
Enjoy the game at Noon, surprisingly Chicago’s first game at Noon this season. We’ll see you next week!