Thursday, April 12, 2007

Catch Us If You Can! (You Can't)

The Bears 2007 schedule is out and I'm already seeing the braintrust at the Tribune making their game-by-game predictions.

I'm pretty sure they padded one or both of Downey's and Morrissey's 10-6 predictions from last year. On the eve of last season, both said the Bears might scrape into the playoffs but were going no place. And of course the Bears scraped their way to the division title, with 5 or 6 weeks to spare.

The schedule certainly appears to be tougher than last year, with 7 playoffs teams on tap, plus last-week-heartbroken Denver. However, thanks to the 6 NFC North games and the Raiders, the strength of schedule chart says the Bears have the 2nd-softest schedule again in 2007. Arizona is the only team with softer opponents.

Aaap, I don't think it's the time to do game-by-game predictions, so I'll refrain from typing the W or L next to each game. Don't they know there's a draft on? Apparently not needless to say, the whereabouts of Lance Briggs or the identity of the Chiefs QB, for example, would likely have a bearing on some of my selections.

Really, I just don't want to tip my football-picking hand to my fellow shitwits before the taxman has even come to the door.

From a Bear standpoint, the first 3 weeks couldn't be any different. Last season, the Bears swept through the 3 NFC North rivals and that was about all she wrote, other than playoff planning.

It was still a good feeling and all, even if Grossman nearly blew the Minnesota game, only being bailed out by a miracle fumble recovery off a strip of Mewelde Moore. It was still early enough in the Lovie Smith era that I needed confirmation that the Jauron days were completely over -- the days when the Bears would invariably get beat by 30 or 40 in the opener due to lack of preparation.

The Bears hop right in to the fire in 2007 with games against 3 playoff teams, albeit San Diego and Dallas with new coaches, and Kansas City with the same non-playoff-ready Herm Edwards. September 24 could very well be a day of panic in Chicago.

Conversely, it could be a day of hope in Detroit, Minnesota, and Green Bay that there's a chance they could have supplanted the Bears at the top of the NFC North food chain.

The Bears haven't exactly had an inspiring off-season, but lest anyone forget, they've been cruising well ahead of NFC North rivals and slowing to watch themselves on the Jumbotron to ensure they look cool doing it.

It's your move, NFC North. What have you guys been up to?

If the schedule made you nervous at all, Bears fans, check this shit out. This will make you feel better. I did a quick compilation of who's in and who's out of the NFC North. It's laughable, man.

Detroit

IN

OT George Foster
RB Tatum Bell
RB TJ Duckett
DE Dewayne White
WR Shaun McDonald
CB Travis Fisher

OUT
CB Dre Bly
FB Corey Schlesinger
TE Marcus Pollard
S Terrence Holt

So, out are a Pro Bowl CB, Urlacher's worst nightmare at the point of attack, a once-good TE, and a guy named Holt that Martz realized wasn't the ex-Ram. Also, Kevin Jones is out for all intents and purposes for the season (with a lis franc injury, same as Mike Brown, which scares the heck out of me).

In come a couple bust-out RBs and some ex-Ram role players. They didn't even get the good Ram WR Kevin Curtis, they settled for Shaun McDonald. The Dewayne White guy from Tampa should be a worthwhile pickup.

Minnesota

OUT

QB Brad Johnson
CB Fred Smoot
LB Napoleon Harris
TE Jermaine Wiggins

IN
WR Bobby Wade
TE Visanthe Shiancoe
LB Vinny Ciurciu
QB Drew Henson

Bottom line, Tarvaris Jackson (or perhaps Brady Quinn) will take over this terrible offense that adds fumblicious Bobby Wade and Visanthe Shiancoe. You think you're laughing, Shiancoe's raking in $8.2 million in 2007. I guess that makes him the guy to fear.

And it gives me great pleasure to introduce the upstart Packers' free agent class.

Green Bay

OUT

RB Ahman Green
FB William Henderson

IN
CB Frank Walker

OK, so they didn't lose a lot either, other than leadership value. But the onus is on you guys to come knock us down, Green Bay, and all you added was a competitor for a nickel CB spot? You don't have to listen that closely to hear the violins playing and the "Poor poor Brett, how could they not give him any help?" columns being hammered out across the nation.

I'd almost have to agree, as much bile as that makes me taste. Is anyone awake up there? I ain't crossing the Cheese Curtain to find out, so I went to the Packers' site just to make sure they're still a franchise and not on probation or anything.

GM Ted Thompson says that they took a "selective approach" to free agency.

I'll say. That's the same kind of selective as Spinal Tap's appeal in 1982, just before they pushed the sock puppet stage out of the way and debuted Jazz Odyssey at Themeland Amusement Park.

Based on how things look today, there may be some games that needed to be won once Tank's presumed 8-game suspension is up. Maybe it would be a positive if the division weren't already locked up by the time Lance Briggs graces us with his grudging presence.

Bob Babich says he's going to rush the passer with the LBs, so I can see Briggs making a glorious return, a la Nigel Tufnel riffing into the middle of "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight" without missing a beat. Briggs drops Jay Cutler for a sack, matching his 2006 total, and maybe everyone can get swept up and forget the offseason's shark sandwich for a while and get back to winning playoff games.

Rosenhaus can stand on the sideline looking pissed off like David St. Hubbins's fucking wife. It's an idea.

Sep 9 @San Diego
Sep 16 Kansas City
Sep 23 Dallas
Sep 30 @Detroit
Oct 7 @Green Bay
Oct 14 Minnesota
Oct 21 @Philadelphia
Oct 28 Detroit
Nov 11 @Oakland
Nov 18 @Seattle
Nov 25 Denver
Dec 2 N.Y. Giants
Dec 6 @Washington
Dec 17 @Minnesota
Dec 23 Green Bay
Dec 30 New Orleans

1 comment:

azibuck said...

That's good shit.