Bearly Relevant: Week One, Peyton and his Colts
Yes, believe it people, the Bears are back, so get excited. It doesn't matter that they probably won't be very good or particularly fun to watch: professional football is too precious a commodity to disregard just because your favorite team might be bad. Besides, the NFL is the only pro sports league in the world in which you can't rule teams out before the season starts. If Royals fans have a hard time getting pumped up for each new year, that’s understandable. But even though I, like everyone else, think the Bears will probably be awful, that doesn't mean it's a certainty. Look at it this way, last year a team with a more lame, sober version of Kyle Orton won the Super Bowl. If Eli Manning, the NFL's true equivalent of Buster Bluth, can do it, we owe it to ourselves to wait a few weeks before we totally rule out the possibility that Orton can lead a competent NFL offense.
There is only one problem: the Bears open up this week against a consensus top five juggernaut in the Indy Colts. The Colts are far from perfect, sure, and a case can be made that this may even be their worst team since the dawn of the Dungy Era. But don’t forget what kind of dinosaur the Bears are messing with here. It’s a team that has gone 63-17 over the last five years, and still has almost the entirety of its roster in its prime. It boasts one of the best quarterbacks of all-time, a perfectly designed offensive system, and arguably the league’s most respected head coach, albeit one that probably never read Man in the Middle.
Around the web
Simmons: "I'm still disappointed the Bears weren't this year's "Hard Knocks" team. The "Grossman-Orton" battle had Feldman-Haim potential."
King: "Dick Ebersol exhales. It's not Sorgi-Orton."
Big Daddy Drew: "If Peyton Manning was ever gonna miss a game…"
SI FanNation sez…
ESPN’s experts agree…
Yeah, all eight of them. They picked the team who’s best player didn’t once tell his daughter’s mother “you’re raising a little pussy” and the always classy “grow the fuck up, quit praying, and get a job”.
The enemy's take: Bruce Paine at Cobra Brigade
We haven't seen much of the Colts. The starters have seen minimal playing time in the preseason, as is usual for the Colts. Saturday is out (though he has decided against surgery and will be back sooner than later) but the offensive line will do the job. Manning won't take unnecessary hits and will get rid of the ball knowing that one throw, good or bad, will not decide the game as a whole. The line, though patched together, will be disciplined and so will the team as a whole. The Bears are going to commit more penalties than the Colts. The Colts just have to keep moving the ball. The Bears cannot afford to give up the deep ball because they would never catch up. Given that the Colts must be their usual, patient self and take the underneath stuff and execute.
Key to the Game: Manning’s left knee
Let’s face it guys: if Manning were 100%, the spread would be three to five points higher. He’s playing this game hurt, and because of it, the Bears have a some chance, no matter how small, to start their season 1-0. Injuries with quarterbacks are tricky because you never really know how bad they’re hurt or how much a specific injury really hinders their play. And you’ll likely never find any of that pertinent information out, making it impossible to draw accurate conclusions from the past.
How much did Tom Brady’s foot injury affect him in the Super Bowl? How badly was he hurt? These are things we’ll never know. But USC’s Mark Sanchez came into last week’s game against a not totally horrible Virginia team- on the road, no less- and completed 74% of his passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns. That was only a few weeks after he suffered what most considered to be a pretty heavy injury. See, you never know with these guys before hand. For the Bears, that’s probably a good thing.
Matchup Bears should win
Tommie Harris against Colts guard Daniel Federkeil.
Matchup the Bears should lose
The rest of them
Sweet 90’s alt rock song that may or may not remind you of Chris Zorich
Smashing Pumpkins- Zero
The Bears win if
Hester scores twice.
The Bears lose if
Manning wasn't as injured as the Colts let on the past few weeks.
In the end
Colts 20, Bears 13