The “Dutch Lion” doesn’t feel like rehashing the Chicago Bears (5-2) lousy performance against the Los Angeles Rams (5-2) on Monday Night Football too much. The Bears stunk. The Rams crushed ’em 24-10 in their magnificent new stadium.
I’m not sure we’re going to award any Game Balls as usual. I just don’t think anyone deserved a Game Ball. Nick Foles…bad. David Montgomery…bad. The Offensive Line…bad. The coaching and play-calling…bad. The defense didn’t make tackles…bad.
What I’d like to do is rant a little bit. Why don’t the coaches use some more weapons now that Tarik Cohen is injured? Where is Javon Wims? He’s shown some flashes before. He played on MNF but didn’t block very well. He had one catch on two targets. Where in the world is WR #88 Riley Ridley? Let me remind you that Riley Ridley is Falcons superstar Calvin Ridley’s brother. GM Ryan Pace drafted him in the 4th Round in 2019. Riley played at Georgia, and while he doesn’t have his brother’s explosiveness, he might be a guy to throw the ball to. Not only are the Bears not targeting Ridley, they’re not even playing him! He’s been inactive as far as we know all season. He hasn’t recorded a catch. You might remember that he had four receptions for 54 yards in last season’s finale at Minnesota. He showed promise. Now, he’s not even getting a chance. Supposedly the rumor is that HC Matt Nagy doesn’t like him. He’s in the “doghouse” you might say. OK, so why is he on the team? Play him or get rid of him. It’s just silly.
Why aren’t the Bears playing and targeting rookie TE #85 Cole Kmet more? He had two catches against the Rams on just two targets. Instead of using TE #86 Demetrius Harris for two short catches on three targets, why not give Kmet all of those chances? Kmet is the future and he’s been showing promise. The coaches gush about Kmet, that he’s been great in practice. So use him in the games!
It’s hard to blame RB #32 David Montgomery (3.7 ypc) for the Bears lackluster ground game. He’s pretty good but maybe he needs to hit the hole harder rather than juking and dancing so much. Of course, the offensive line does squat. They can’t run block. They can’t pass block. They stink. Chicago needs to address the line in free agency and in next year’s Draft. Obviously it doesn’t help that the two best linemen are both injured, LG #68 James Daniels and C #65 Cody Whitehair. Their fill-ins (LG #69 Rashaad Coward & C #67 Sam Mustipher) aren’t getting it done. Maybe #64 Alex Bars will get a shot at LG. The others (LT #72 Charles Leno, RG #74 Germain Ifedi, and RT #70 Bobby Massie) aren’t good enough either. This franchise needs new big uglies.
The play calling is miserable. Nagy refuses to let somebody else call plays but his infamous “Be You” playsheet turned into “Be Lousy” shortly after the magical 2018 season was over. Remember ’18? It was a season filled with trick plays and crazy misdirection stuff. It was confusing for the defense to read. It gave energy and enjoyment to our young team. Now Nagy refuses to call trick plays. His offense is so boring as it’s all short pass plays that tend to go nowhere. What happened to the I-formation play-action game from early this season? Now it’s all shotgun with Foles throwing three yard passes that lead out of bounds. Ugh.
What else? DC Chuck Pagano is growing on me. The Bears still have one of the best defenses in the NFL. However, it’s not as dominant without former DC Vic Fangio and the turnovers and sacks his schemes created. Some of that is due to the loss of DT #91 Eddie Goldman (opted out) and former OLB Leonard Floyd. Oh by the way, did you see #54 Floyd (used to be #94) disrupting the Bears on Monday Night with 2 sacks (4 sacks on the year)? The dude can play. I love that guy. I get the move by Pace but our new #94 Robert Quinn (1 sack this season) is doing crap. Another Ugh.
What else can we vent about? Oh well, it’s just a week to get the negative energy out. Like we always say, you’re never as good as you think and you’re never as bad as you think.
Player of the Game
FS #39 Eddie Jackson – Eddie had 9 tackles, a fumble recovery, and a defensive touchdown. I’ve been trying to forget this game all week but if I remember correctly, even Jackson had a missed tackle or two. It was that kind of week. Nonetheless, it was exciting to see Jackson score again, especially since he’s had multiple TD’s taken off the board this year by penalties.
This is definitely the hardest portion of the Chicago Bears schedule. Last week going up against an NFC West Playoff contender, the L.A. Rams (5-2), in Los Angeles. Then this week facing a perennial NFC South Playoff contender, the New Orleans Saints (4-2) at Soldier Field. Finally, next week the Bears travel to Nashville, Tennessee to line up against the defending AFC Conference finalist Titans (5-1). After this difficult stretch, it gets easier for the Bears.
Here’s how Troy Aikman’s AER has the matchup:
- New Orleans Saints (4-2) – 15th overall, 6th offense, 28th defense
- Chicago Bears (5-2) – 17th overall, 29th offense, 6th defense
Here’s how Football Outsiders has it:
- New Orleans Saints – 6th overall, 7th offense, 10th defense, 7th special teams
- Chicago Bears – 17th overall, 26th offense, 6th defense, 19th special teams
Sports Betting Dime has the Saints favored by 5 points. “Dutch Lion” has a perfect 7-0 record on his Bears predictions this season. Can he keep it going? Can he make the 1972 Dolphins nervous? Or will they break out the cigars this evening about 6:30pm?
Every week provides a new challenge in the parity-driven NFL. Weather should be a huge factor at Soldier Field this afternoon. The wind will play a role. It should hurt the passing game and kicking. It might make it a defensive struggle. Chicago’s poor running game won’t be able to move the ball against an underrated Saints defense.
On the other hand, the Saints vaunted passing attack might be governed a bit by the wind. No matter how I look at this game, I just don’t see a struggling Bears offense, and team, beating a really good Saints squad that is led by a future Hall of Fame QB, Drew Brees. Their stud RB Alvin Kamara is probably on his way to Canton too. They have one of the best, if not the best, special teams unit in the league.
Oh, and don’t forget Naperville, Illinois own, New Orleans HC Sean Payton (56 years old) has been coaching the Saints since 2006, long before Matt Nagy was even on an NFL staff (started interning in 2008 with the Eagles). The Bears ended Sean Payton’s rookie season as Saints Head Coach in the 2006 NFC Championship with a 39-14 victory to advance to Super Bowl 41. Well, that was several Bears head coaches ago (Lovie Smith, Marc Trestman, John Fox, and Nagy). If this recent Bears mediocrity continues, we might have to add another head coach to that Bears list. Maybe Payton would enjoy coming home.
Well, that’s speculation for another day. As for today, I just don’t see the Bears winning. Pick: Saints S/U and ATS.
New Orleans Saints 24 Chicago Bears 12