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Bears Thu Sep 10 2009

Footballic Ramblings: Let's Get Ready to RUMBLE!

Start playing before you read to get your blood pumping! If @ work: headphones, natch!

Alright, NFL fans, we're a scant and approximate 10 hours away from the first, actual, live football snaps that will have mattered since February and I hope you have your iPods loaded with Jock Jams: Vols. 1-6. The game tonight should be an absolute skull-crushing collision of two very sophisticated troglodytic defenses that love doing what they do best, which is bruising and abusing the opposition's offense. A few things to keep an eye out for:

Tennessee's Offensive "be evolvin', yo!":

Kerry Collins is still under center and Vince Young is still trying to find his way. Meanwhile the other skill positions have all improved from last year.

The two-headed and four-legged human/rhinoceros mash-up that is Chris Johnson and a newly slimmed down LenDale "Don't Call Me 'LenWhale' cuz I lost 20 lbs!" White should be trampling over even Pittsburgh's corp of linebackers and safeties. Meanwhile, Justin Gage is no longer the solitary playmaker at the wideout position. The Titans went ahead and poached Nate Washington from the defending Super Bowl champs in the off-season and now have him lining up on the other side of the field, sure to make defensive coordinators sweat a few more bullets.

How Will Tennessee's Defense React Sans Big Albert?

Force-of-nature defensive end, Albert Haynesworth was lured by Daniel Snyder's many, many shiny piles of Spanish doubloons as a free-agent and the Titans are still searching for someone to be as disruptive on defense as the colossus that is Albert.

Pittsburgh Will Probably Win This Game

The Steelers have won six season opening games in a row, just sayin'.

Will Rashard Mendenhall Get a Shot?

Pittsburgh's heralded rookie running back had his season ended rather quickly to an injury, can he/will he get a chance to bounce back? Expect him to get some run in second and fourth quarters as a substitute to Willie Parker.

Now, let's move on to the weekend's main event:

Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers

The League's oldest, most-storied and, frankly, most-badass rivalry begins anew on Sunday night under the lights of Lambeau up in Door County. What should you expect? Well, for starters, a lot more points should be scored than is customary in this rivalry. Both teams have all-league caliber quarterbacks in Jay-Bot 5000 for the Bears and Aaron "I'm not Brett Favre" Rogers for the Pack. Also with the Bears secondary being made largely of gasoline-soaked rags and kindling, Rogers will be getting the ball to his receivers frequently and easily.

For Cutler the Packers are switching to a 3-4 defense and the transition looks like it has worked out okay so far, but it's not like they were amazing. Concerning for the Packers: the D did get a little dinged up in their last preseason game, notably, talented rookie, BJ Raji left the game with an ankle injury and has not been practicing this week. We'll see if he gets the nod on Sunday night. For Cutler he'll have to focus on being able to read when the Packers are sending a blitz and quickly finding a safety valve receiver in the form of Greg Olsen or Matt Forte.

The NFL season is hardly even out of it's pre-natal stage, but this game has a LOT of implications for the NFC North crown and considering that Minnesota is in the mix as well, the Bears will want to steal away some momentum from the Packers and create some divisional breathing room as soon as possible.

The Bears Game Isn't On til 7:20 pm on Sunday Night, What Can I Watch?

According to 506's regional tv maps both the CBS and FOX early games are the sort of footballic hor d'oeuvre that will whet your insatiable appetite for "YES, RUN, Get 'em! WHOOO"-styled action that will be coming up when Chicago collides with Green Bay later in the evening. In any case:

Noon Game on CBS is: Jacksonville @ Indianapolis, No Tony Dungy on the sidelines but something tells me Peyton Manning, et al aren't gonna have too much to worry about with a Jacksonville squad that's utterly in shambles on the defensive side. Fantasy Interest: Will Peyton get the ball to newly anointed 2nd receiver Anthony Gonzalez? Will Maurice Jones-Drew be the greased-human pinball that dominates all defenses?

Noon Game on FOX is: Minnesota @ Cleveland, "Hello, Browns, my name is Adrian Peterson, I'll be running you over all game long." Next!

Late-afternoon Game on FOX: Washington @ New York Giants: NFC East battle sure to set the Bristol clique's hearts all aflutter. Am dying to see how Jason Campbell handles his team's utter lack of confidence in him and also who Eli Manning will be throwing the ball to. Both squads also have vicious, anger-minded defensive lines and equally dominant offensive lines. Should be a great game.

That's it. Welcome back, NFL! Thank god, you came back to us. Enjoy the games!

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