Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010
By John Mullin
The Philadelphia Eagles are the immediate concern for the Bears but what was happening a little further down the schedule was startling. General manager Jerry Angelo said last Thursday that he thought the Bears didnt necessarily have to get any better this season to be successful, just be as good as they are now but do it consistently.
But the Bears themselves might concede that theyll have to keep their game at its highest level in the face of whats coming in the next six weeks after Michael Vick and the Eagles:
New England (Dec. 12)
New England scored touchdowns on each of its first three possessions against the Indianapolis Colts and very methodically was doing business at the Colts expense. Then Peyton Manning began doing what Peyton Manning does.
Missing receivers and running backs and working with a patchwork offensive unit, Manning brought the Colts virtually back from a three-score deficit before throwing his third interception with Indianapolis nearly within range of kicking a tying field goal (sound vaguely familiar?).
The Patriots have won seven of their last eight, with only that head-scratcher in Cleveland cluttering up the run. Nasty observation: New England has scored no fewer than 23 points in any game this year and put up 30 or more in six of their 10 games.
New York Jets (Dec. 26)
New York blew a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter against Houston, then scored a winning TD to down the Texans 30-27 in what longtime Houston Chronicle NFL guru John McClain called the second-worst collapse ever (the first being Houstons vs. Buffalo a long time ago in a playoff nightmare bad enough to get D-coordinator Buddy Ryan to take a sideline swing at offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride).
Mark Sanchez continues toward elite status among NFL quarterbacks, engineering the Jets final TD drive with precision throws and finishing with 315 passing yards and 3 TDs vs. just one INT.
The Bears last shutout before the one Thursday in Miami was against the Jets in 2006. Just a guess, but Im not seeing another shutout when the Jets show up in Soldier Field the day after Christmas.
Green Bay (Jan. 2)
Green Bay spotted the Minnesota Vikings a 3-0 lead in the first quarter, then obliterated Brett Favre and the rest of that spiraling team, 31-3. The drama playing out with Favre and Brad Childress may be interesting copy, but what the Packers have done since losing consecutive OT games a month ago is significant.
Since edging by the Vikings 28-24, the Packers have beaten the Jets, Dallas and now Minnesota again, allowing 0, 7 and 3 points. Aaron Rodgers is making the highlight films; the defense is officially becoming scary.
The Packers have allowed 146 total points. Same as the Bears. The Bears-Packers difference? Green Bay has scored 252 to the Bears 191.
Is anybody charting Randy Moss impact on the Tennessee Titans offense? The guy that some observers thought the Bears simply could not prosper without has caught exactly one (1) pass for Tennessee and it did not come in Sundays overtime loss to the Washington Redskins.
John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.