I think it's Chicago's undying love for the Bears which leads us to reconsider them as a whole after every botched third down conversion or Tim Jennings interception. This probably isn't fair. The Bears, through three weeks, look far from a finished product, something that can probably be said accurately about nearly every team in the NFL. This isn't good enough for Chicago. We're impatient.
When the Bears traded for Brandon Marshall and Michael Bush, Jason Campbell and Alshon Jeffery joined as reinforcements, many people in this fair city immediately started dreaming of a Super Bowl. Thing is: success in the NFL ain't easy to come by. Nearly every team is well coached and unless you employ a quarterback of the Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady-variety, talent is spread relatively evenly throughout the league. The NFL is designed to make you bite your nails, or sometimes wish you did something more productive with your leisure time. Achievement in the NFL does not come cheap, and it certainly doesn't come without a lot of luck. As the Bears have gotten out to a 2-1 start, we still find ourselves largely disappointed. Jay Cutler hasn't been good enough, the offensive line is still a huge issue, the new-look receiving corps has yet to set the league ablaze, ect.
Truth is, the Bears are a team in transition right now. Instead of bemoaning a lack of style points or questioning Cutler's gut, Chicago should be thanking the stars its football team has only lost once through three weeks. There's plenty of time to right the ship, to get that passing game locked tight. While Cutler and the Bears work through their third offensive coordinator in four years and adjust to the new weapons, wins are really all that matter.
Tonight's game vs. the Dallas Cowboys feels huge even if these Bears have plenty of schedule left in front of them to truly determine their own worth. The difference between 3-1 and 2-2 is palpable, especially as the Minnesota Vikings prove to be a dark horse threat in the division. Will the Bears beat Dallas? It really feels like a coin flip. Both teams are led by erratic quarterbacks, both teams rush the passer and have spotty offensive lines. The Bears shined last time they came to the JerryDome, and this Bears squad is better on paper. Still: it's easier to envision Cutler getting sacked 100 times and once again underwhelming in primetime than it is to picture the Bears setting Dallas on fire with an aerial attack. I expect nothing short of a suspenseful game decided in the last five minutes. Impossible to say which way it will go.
Prediction: Bears in a close one.
Steve von Horn
Everything everyone says about this game is right. The Romo = Cutler narrative is totally spot on. We're not quite at a crossroads in this season yet, but Monday is obviously an early test for both teams.
If you're a Bears fan, you should want to see a competitive -- but maybe more importantly, competent -- game. If the Bears lose, they lose. But if they want to be taken even slightly seriously as a contender, they can't bottem out on national television -- again. Go down fighting, be proud of how you play.
Prediction: Cowboys (close game)
Besides the Cutler : Romo :: Apple : Smilier Apple thing, I find it almost weird how similar these teams are in general.
- Shitty pass protection? Check.
- Pretty cool receiving cores? Check.
- Front-sevens that want to make you Take your shirt off, twist it 'round yo' hand [and] Spin it like a helicopter? Check.
- Running backs that are ACL tearing good? Check. (Assuming Forte plays.)
- Secondaries playing inspired football? Check.
- Fan bases extremely unsure of their squad despite matching 2-1 records? Double Check.