Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears

I don't know what to make of this game. Seriously. I've thought about it, stared blankly into space about it, and still have no clue. That's what happens when you're dealing with teams who still haven't settled on an identity. Take Chicago. Either they are a pure defensive team who only scores on 8 yard touchdown drives (like in the first game) or they are the reinvention of the championship Baltimore Ravens, with an offense that doesn't turn it over and makes enough plays to win 17-10. Take Carolina. Either they are a dominant squad on both sides of the ball and an easy Super Bowl pick or they have no running offense or defense. In the first game between the two both sides had their weaker fronts on display. Chicago needed gifts to score and Carolina could muster nothing offensively, including Jake Delhomme's being sacked an incredible 8 times. I'll have a pick down at the bottom, but at this point I have no idea. I will say this, I'm not going to be an idiot like some guy on Fox and say the winner of this game will beat Seattle next week. East Coast moron.

Colin, in his mentally weakened state, dared challenge me last week about the type of categories I used to preview the games. He's under a lot of pressure in his (chuckle) communications classes. I understand. Still, in honor of that "major" I give you below my communication-enhanced categories.

Chicago Defense vs Carolina Offense

Who's gonna protect Delhomme? You have to give the offensive line for Carolina some credit, they did generally keep Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan away from Jake last week, but the Giants still totaled 4 sacks. Against a team that can blitz from anywhere and can get sacks from more than the defensive ends, that type of performance won't cut it. I'm sure Alex Smith and friends are raring to have a chance to drag Delhomme down again. This will probably come down to the running game. If Carolina can run, it will keep Chicago honest enough to buy Jake a few extra seconds to locate Steve Smith downfield. If they cannot... look out.

Who's gonna win the turnover battle? Jake Delhomme has a lot of qualities. One of them that would be in the negative bucket is his penchant for forcing balls into coverage. Chicago makes you pay for those mistakes. We saw in last weekend's games the importance of turnovers... instant offense and momentum. Chicago's "enhanced" offense still is not going to be able to move the ball up and down the field. Carolina can't give them short fields to work with several times in this game. Then they will fall behind and have to abandon the running game.

Dat secondary is sweeeet. Steve Smith is one heck of a receiver. However, when you play a secondary like Chicago's, great receivers can struggle when they have zero help. The Bears have two cornerbacks who can at least stay within a step of Smith, and safety Mike Brown is a pro at not allowing the deep ball. Did I mention they are good tacklers on those short screens the Panthers love to run? This may be the only game in the playoffs where the Panthers will need a second receiver to step up, but trust me, for them to win this one they will have to.

'Sup Foster? Colin showed the statistics last week of Carolina's ineffectiveness running the ball against anyone not named Atlanta. Then they go out and put up 100 total rushing yards in the first half last week. Before the national media goes nuts, can we please remember that they were playing a team as decimated at linebacker as anyone in the NFL. Do you honestly believe they would have had the same success against Antonio Pierce? Can I start laughing now? This week they go up against Brian Urlacher and Tommie Harris. If they can run on these two I'll start believing.

Chicago Offense vs Carolina Defense

Is Grossman for reals? Chicago fans are staking a lot on a third year pro who has made a grand total of two starts in the last year. Yes, he did look like he could move the ball better than Orton, but that's before NFL defensive coordinators could get a look at him on tape. There's a reason backups always look better the first time out. The defensive gameplan is to stop the other guy. Heck, Jon Kitna even looked good last weekend until Pitt made the adjustments. Now Rex Grossman gets to try and attack a Carolina defense that looked amazing last week. Even when Carolina's struggled, they've generally been able to defend the pass well, even Kenny Lucas. Muhsin Muhammed will be up for this one, but of more important (again, because of the secondary depth) is a second receiver, perhaps Justin Gage or Mark Bradley. Grossman is going to have to be quick and decisive, or Julius Peppers is going to eat him alive.

Thomas (Jones') Touches are Tubular. Thomas Jones has to be the offense for the Bears. To his credit, he is the emphasis in the game plan each week, and he has delivered each week. The #3 defense in the league has had weaknesses against power running games before, especially if you run at the aforementioned Peppers. A good running game for the Bears cuts down on the possessions for the Panthers, keeps their defense fresh, and will keep the crowd in the game. Three and outs (or long third down conversions) are unacceptable, especially with a quarterback playing in his first playoff game. Can Jones, in his first meaningful playoff game, come through?

Line of the Crushed: Well, here we are and I still don't know who to pick. Chicago has a quarterback in his first playoff game. Carolina won't move the ball themselves. Essentially, I'm picking who has the better chance at creating huge turnovers. That team is Chicago, and so they will win, 13-10.

Colin: That has to be the lamest collection of subheadings that has ever appeared on this, or any, blog. I apologize heartily to our readers. Obviously Gavin has spent too much time in Engineering-Land and has forgotten that he is 1) not black and 2) not funny. He is also wrong in picking Chicago. Carolina will come into town and apply heavy pressure to Rex Grossman, who will falter, leading to the hasty substitution of Kyle Orton in the 4th quarter. Like that will help. Carolina 20-7.

posted by Gavin @ 3:33 PM  1 comments


At 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well its clear you don't have a clue about the Bears. lets review 1)the defensive end you referred to as Alex Smith is more commonly know as Alex Brown. 2)Mark Bradley is on I.R. 3)Tommie Harris is a great DT but the Bears rely more on Ian Scott to stop the run 3) you compare NY linebackers to Chicago's and don't mention the other probowl linebacker Lance Briggs, instead you mention Tommie Harris.
sorry I don't really mean to come off like an asshole


Post a Comment

<< Home


We Wrote These...