January 22, 2007
I'm okay with that, actually. It's a better matchup than the Patriots would have been. To be honest, I'm thinking the latest line (Colts by 7) is more a function of the "AFC is better" hype that's been out there all season.
There's no question that the AFC as a whole WAS better all season. BUT, the Bears were the best of the NFC from week 1 to today, and with Sunday's game, the defense got back to playing the way they were in the first half of the year... in short, dominating.
IF the defense plays that way AND the running game is as effective THEN they will beat the Colts, no question.
The Colts' defensive front four are, to be blunt, lightweights... literally. They're undersized and can be pushed around by a strong offensive line, which is exactly what the Bears have. It may not happen immediately, but the Bears O-Line should be able to dominate and let the "Thunder and Thunder" running backs get free.
On the other side, IF the Bears defensive line ("Our four beat their five.") can repeat their performance vs the Saints against the Colts, AND the defensive backs can stay frosty under pressure (like they did against the Saints), THEN I don't care how good Peyton Manning is (and he's DAMN good), the Bears will win.
However, that's a lot of "ifs" and "ands". After all, the Colts had the biggest comeback in playoff history last night... against a not-too-darn-bad defense. The Colts' defense is pretty flimsy, but they held when they needed to last night.
I think the Colts O vs Bears D will probably be a wash (both are good, but "defense wins championships"). The Bears O vs the Colts D is a wash (neither is very good).
Which brings us to Special Teams. Adam Viniteri (sp?) is one of the best 'clutch' kickers of all time. He's had SuperBowl-winning field-goals a couple of times, I think, and he's NEVER missed a FG in the playoffs. Robbie Gould of the Bears, though, arguably had a better season than Viniteri this year, and he's got ice-water running through his veins. I'll give the slight edge to the Colts, but it's very, very slight: 52-48 kind-of-slight.
BUT... the Bears have the best kick coverage team in the game, AND the best returner in the game in Devin Hester. From all reports, the Colts kick coverage sucks, and their return game isn't much better. It won't surprise me to see this game turn on the special teams, and if it does, the Bears have the edge.
Which is all a long-winded way of saying that I think the 'experts' are blinded by the hype, and should be flipping a coin for their choice. As a Bears fan, I need to pick them, but it's not going to be by much... seven points or so at best, and it could easily go the other way.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 22, 2007 09:50 PM (+rSRq)
1) Tommie Harris has been missing for roughly half the season.
2) Tank Johnson will almost certainly be allowed to travel, considering the restrictions he'll be under.
Hell, I COULD have mentioned that Peyton Manning got his throwing hand smashed on Sunday and his thumb is discolored because of that. I didn't mention it because it doesn't matter.
Would the Bears be better with Harris? Yeah, probably. Is it possible that Johnson won't be allowed to travel? Yes, it's possible. Would it hurt? Yep (and the judge in the case is a Packers fan).
But I'm not sweating it.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 23, 2007 02:08 AM (0Co69)
I'm far more upset with the loss of Mike Brown and the subsequent increase in opponent passing productivity. He was the quarterback of the defense and,while I think they'll do fine without him, I'd feel much better with him.
Posted by: Christopher Ross at January 23, 2007 08:50 AM (etcdC)
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