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Bears Thu Dec 18 2008

Footballic Ramblings: Bears Facing Old Foe

The Green Bay Packers roll into the Second City for what is sure to be a frigid season-finale for Monday Night Football that gridiron purists will be gushing over with hyperbolic talk of "majestic brutes colliding on the icy steppe of Soldier Field*," et cetera. And to a point, I can really see where these overblown notions come from, after all, we are talking about two of the most-storied and winningest teams in the annals of NFL history. To be certain a lot of the luster has been knocked off this matchup following Green Bay's midseason collapse --GB has dropped four straight since shellacking da Bears @ Lambeau. And Chicago still has less-than-a-snowball's-chance of making the playoffs. But, c'mon!, we're talking about the Packers and the Bears here, not the abomination against the forward pass that is Cleveland v Cincinnati.**

In any case, the Bears have a primetime national audience for the second straight week --if one considers last week's Saints-Bears game on the NFL Network's "generous" "distro" "package" national coverage-- but yes, a national game it is***. When last these two teams met in Week 11, Green Bay flipped the script on the Bears by utilizing a power running game to grind the Bears typically stout defense into orange and blue specks as Ryan Grant (25 carries, 145 yards, 1 TD) ruled the day and the Packers trounced Chicago. Since that game Chicago has played much better--forgetting the back-breaking loss to Minnesota, natc-- while the Packers' offense and defense have seemingly gone into an early hibernation. But some games (yes, even for the professionals) mean a little bit more and if there is a NFL rivalry wherein one "can toss out the records," Green Bay and Chicago is surely it. Expect quarterbacks, NeckBeard and Rogers, to keep their teams in the games with plenty of play action options and both running backs, Forte and Grant, to rush at will as both defensive lines have struggled against powerful running backs all season long, see: Williams, DeAngelo of Carolina against both teams. Green Bay wins at Soldier Field for their first season sweep since 2003 on a gust-defying Mason Crosby field goal as time expires.

The Bears Aren't On Til Monday Night, What Else Is On?

Early Game: Pittsburgh @ Tennessee
A likely AFC Championship preview, the Steelers and Titans come in with extremely talented defenses (both rank in the top 5 in overall D) with the Steelers having a decidedly more aerial offense; while the Titans have been relying on a ground attack centered around the double-headed tank of LenDale White and Chris Johnson,
whom Footballic Ramblings sorely neglected in mentioning for Rookie of the Year contention earlier this week. The winner should cinch up home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

Late Game Atlanta @ Minnesota
Bears fans will be paying rapt attention to this 3:00 pm kickoff between the NFC North leading Vikes and, likely, NFC Wildcard holder, ATL. Whoever loses this one, the Bears slim playoff hopes are the real winner...

*Actually, does anyone wonder what the over/under for Kornheiser, et al espousing some such drivel from the broadcast booth really is, just sayin'.
**Footballic Ramblings is dying to know what the overall combined yardage total for this game is going to be. The Browns are starting perennial-bench warmer, Ken Dorsey at QB. While the Bungles are going with the always plucky and fresh-off-the-boat sounding, Ryan Fitzpatrick. Uhhh, suicide, pls?
***And another thing, why does it seem like the Bears always have some frigid and ridonkuously scheduled home night game in December? Does the NFL care not for the people actually in the stands?

 
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