So the Bears are in Denver right now, and this game is going to end up being the exact opposite of what it was supposed to be. It was supposed to be Jay Cutler returning to the city that dumbass Josh McDaniels kinda-sorta ran him out of a couple years ago, triumphing over a borderline shitty Broncos team still trying to recover from having that guy as their coach, leaving Mark Schlereth unable to go on the air for any post-game shows, locked in a mop closet, weeping over a semen-encrusted John Elway jersey. It was supposed to be the game where Matt Forte established a career-high total for rushing yards in a season, and the game where the Broncos finally resumed losing and the decision to get rid of Kyle Orton and Brandon Lloyd and hang all their hopes and dreams on Tim Tebow's wonky throwing motion would finally begin the two-or-more year process of repeatedly, painfully biting them in the ass.
R.I.P. 2011 Chicago Bears (2011-2011)
The Bears come into this game with Matt Forte resting comfortably in a hyperbaric chamber somewhere in a dungeon beneath Tommie Harris's house, with a rushing attack led by Kahlil "my entire career is one long run and nothing else, ever" Bell and and the ghost of Marion "I always tear something on my tenth carry" Barber. They don't have Jay Cutler or his right thumb, while Caleb Hanie continues to channel the thankfully-dead spirits of Henry Burris, Cade McNown, and Mike Tomczak, while spiking this retarded punch with an added dash of legendary dumbass Dan Orlovsky. And he's getting not much help at all from the same high school-ass receivers (and Earl Bennett, who's actually alright) that Cutler was having trouble getting to catch the ball out there, not to mention an offensive line that's lately been hell-bent on proving everyone wrong who thought they might have turned into a viable NFL entity a few weeks ago. And all of this is drunkenly stumbling headlong into an Denver defense led by Von Miller, who is to 2011 as Brian Urlacher was to 2002, that's good enough to keep their, uh... differently-abled... offense in all these recent close games.
Here is Macey Brooks, mentioned for the first time by anyone, anywhere in at least ten years.
And that offense... Man, I know a thing or two about that sort of thing. You see, much as the Broncos have gone to a bizarre 1987 no-passing-allowed college offense that's just an extra running back away from being the goddamn Wishbone, (Maybe they could call it the "Tebone" offense. I need to get my copyright guy on the phone right away. A copyright guy is a thing, right?) the Bears did some things somewhat along the same lines back in the day. Around '99 or so, we had this guy, Gary Crowton, as the offensive coordinator, and he put in this crazy college-style spread offensive scheme, where the Bears would have wide receivers falling out of every orifice on every play, there were constant shotgun formations for no reason, and the flea-flicker was totally a play that was run sometimes. And somehow, for a while, it worked. The Bears got a whole lot of yards, and Marcus Robinson and Marty Booker fooled the world into thinking they were stars of the NFL, helping Shane Matthews almost look like a guy who belonged at a level somewhere above Arena League 2. (Which of course meant that Daniel Snyder signed him to start for the Redskins as soon as possible. Sorry, Raven.) But there's a problem with running a punk-ass college ball scheme. Two, actually. First, in the pro game, you can't always rely on your athletic ability winning you games where actual football execution fails, because even if you have the best athletes from the college level, the other team does too. And with talent being equal, a gameplan based on "run faster than the other team and then we'll win" falls apart really fast once opposing coaches figure out how to line their guys up to be directly in the path of your fast guys. So once opposing teams had a season worth of game film to look at, the Gary Crowton Razzle Dazzle Chicago Bears Experience fell to earth faster than a frozen ball of shit from an overweight 747, just like that Wildcat rubbish the Dolphins were running a few years ago did, just like the Mike Martz Greatest Show on Turf has been doing for most of the last decade at the expense of the well-being of Kurt Warner, Trent Green, Jay Cutler, and a host of crippled others, and just like the Denver Tebown option offense is going to, probably sometime very soon.
Problem is, even with the Bears defense being as pretty alright as it is, I just don't know if it'll be the one to take the air out of Tebowmania. Because as we suspected against the Raiders and had brutally confirmed against the Chiefs, the Chicago offense consists entirely of two players, and both of them could be out until it's too late to salvage the season. Add in an occasionally terrifying Denver defense, and expect a lot of drive summaries that read something like "three-and-out, three-and-out, fumble, three-and-out, interception, interception, three-and-out" and for the Chicago D (which is going to have Craig fucking Steltz in the starting lineup, for Christ's sake) to somehow stay on the field for 75 minutes in a 60-minute game, leaving them susceptible to the late-game screw-ups that the Broncos have mastered taking advantage of all year. And yeah, unless the Broncos just do nothing but kick directly to Devin Hester and trip over their own feet all day, the hurting never stops.
PREDICTION: Broncos 17, Bears 6.