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Packers at Bears MNF Preview -- Or, How to Define a Season in 60 Minutes

by Ricky O'Donnell on September 27, 2010 at 12:07AM

http://www.tremendousupsidepotential.com/img/Bears-Packers-Batman-Awesome.jpgThis a real picture I actually found on the Internet. I really enjoy how Ahman Green (what up, Ahman Green!) is Batman, and stupid Favre is relegated to Robin.

The Bears play the Packers tonight on Monday Night Football, and I'm having trouble coming up with a regular season game from years past that was as important as this one. Maybe that speaks to how uninspiring the Lovie Smith Bears have been post-Super Bowl loss, or perhaps it says more about the way Internet culture has changed the way we remember information: how are we supposed to recall early-to-mid aughts pre-game football hype now that we all live with fully loaded Google Reader's and follow 500 people on Twitter? The human brain is only capable of so much storage. Moreover, with all of this information and all of this entertainment hitting us even quicker and more conveniently than before, events seem to age quicker. My Miami Heat will not play a meaningful game for 29 more days, and yet it seems like LeBron James made his decision years ago. Blog years are like dog years on amphetamines.

Of course, it's likely that the real reason I'm having trouble recalling a Bears game this crucial is because there hasn't been one in a long time. With a decisive loss, those who made 7-9 or 8-8 preseason predictions will look like the leaders in the clubhouse. And with a win? This team won't just create expectations out of thin air, they'll force playoff and perhaps even championship aspirations into the minds of every single blue-collar soul living in this football crazed city.

That last sentence probably reads like satire or the beginning of a Hurricane Ditka joke, but it isn't. I'm fairly certain it's the truth. Yes, that's how good these Green Bay Packers are believed to be.

Intelligent football tastemakers identify a team set to make a leap every year, and that crown belongs to Green Bay in 2010. Here's another downside of the Internet we love so much: is this hype actually warranted, or does it exist solely because there needs to be words and pictures where there are blank sheets? That isn't to say these Packers aren't worthy of the coronation they have received from nearly every corner of the media this summer. Look at the quarterback, look at how Dom Campers molded a 4-3 full of open spaces into a terrifyingly air-tight 3-4 in just one season, and it's easy to see how we arrived here. But, even as everyone has played only three games, I still find it hard to believe that there is a lot separating Green Bay from the other Good Teams. Yes, Rodgers can be transcendent at times, but, by my count, there are probably 14 other QB's in this league capable of such feats. Aaron Rodgers doesn't exist on an island, which is apparently what you're supposed to believe. And for all of the 100-percent accurate talk of the Bears' offensive line deficiencies, watch the group the Packers employ and tell me how much better it is. The Packers are not infallible: they've failed to contain a group of uninspiring running backs through two games, and without Ryan Grant, they've had trouble moving the chains on the ground themselves. They can lose, and the Bears can beat them.

I am not, however, a crazy person, nor one with a 'Chicago or GTFO' type of sports mentality: even as they head into Soldier Field, the Packers are favored and should be. With a loved one on the line, any sane person would predict Green Bay to win under ESPN's bright lights. All this post is supposed to say is you shouldn't count your chickens before they hatch. My grandma says that, I think. And with these Bears I almost did, and only now am I beginning to remember that the NFL regular season is only this majestic because you just never know. In a world where the Kansas City Chiefs can be 3-0, so can the Chicago Bears.

44 Comments | Leave a comment

"Intelligent football tastemakers identify a team set to make a leap every year, and that crown belongs to Green Bay in 2010."

Those same sages also picked the 49ers, The Cowboys, and the Jets to shine this season, but the the light isn't burning so brightly for them, is it? Boom to bust is a short trip in the NFL.

uh, the Jets have looked pretty damn good since Week 1 against a great defense.

If the Bears are going to be a playoff contending team, this game is massive. Their last four games are brutal, and a win tonight helps avoid "must-win" games at Lambeau and the Metrodome in December. It also gives Cutler a chance to make a statement that he doesn't ALWAYS shit his pants on national TV.

There was the last game of the '08 season at Houston, where a win would have put the Bears in the playoffs. But outside of that (and I guess the must-wins leading up to that game, including an MNF win vs. the Pack), this is the most important Bears game of the post-Super Bowl era.

"My Miami Heat"? Die.

Maybe I am just on a different wavelength as you guys, but I fail to see how there is little, to any, importance to this game.

I could maybe see the argument if they were 0-2 and looking to hopefully keep playoff hopes alive. But even then if they dropped to 0-3, we would just think that this was the Bears squad we were expecting.

This is rarely a make-or-break game in Week 3 when two teams are 2-0, and I don't see this one as any different. They're not supposed to beat Green Bay and probably won't. But even if they do, 3-0 is 3-0, this game isn't worth more than one win. The Bears are going to need six or seven more victories to make it matter and that is a hard thing for any team to do let alone this Chicago team that still has huge a problem running the ball and stopping the pass.

If they lose they fall to 2-1, which is still a game better than they were supposed to be at this point if we looked at the schedule before the season.

A win is a bonus, while a loss is "meh, they weren't supposed to win."

Other than the fact that this is a Packers-Bears, conference rivalry game concept, this is the least important of the three games they played and will be less important than next week's, especially if they lose tonight.

Am I wrong?

I think it' important, but not as important as some would have you believe. No the season won't come crashing down with a loss, and a win won't guarantee a division title either.

But this is a big game for the team. They could really use a win like this to catapult them to bigger things. With two road games on the schedule following this, a win against the Packers tonight would be a great send off.

Phil, I see your point, and Week 3 is too early for make-or-break games.

I just think that with a win tonight, the team would be set up to reel of a great early start to the season. At the Giants should be a W based on how NY is playing, at the Panthers is a win, then home for the Seahawks and Redskins, win win. Bears could (and should if they beat Green Bay) be 7-0 at the bye.

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