I’ve spent this week post the Bears massacre in Philly reflecting on this season. And perhaps it’s lucky that this game fell when it did, days before I would be too wrapped up in the holidays and my loved ones to really dwell on it. To be honest, this was the first Bears game I can remember in recent memory that I turned off in the third quarter. And it was okay. I saw all I needed to see. I wrote last week that this game would be a true representation of this team, and it was not that. The Bears are better than the way they played – but what really made it hurt was spending the day watching the Packers lose and the Lions lose, setting up the Bears to seal the division that night, only to see them waste the opportunity.
I posted on my facebook page that day – if the Packers win the division without Aaron Rogers for half the season, the Bears and Lions fans have to form a conga line of shame. And it would be shameful, and a credit to the Packers who probably thought Rogers would be out for the year and their season over. But the Lions, who were once 6-3 and basically owned the division, went into a landslide in a fashion truly fit for the Lions, and now find themselves going into week 17 out of the playoff hunt. So that leaves us here. With Aaron Rogers returning from injury, Jay Cutler’s last game before going into contract talks in the offseason, at Soldier Field, one game, winner goes to the playoffs, loser goes home.
High stakes, huh? Not for me. The one thing I’ve come to expect from the Bears this year is that I have no idea what to expect. They could win a very exciting game tomorrow, sending Marc Trestman to the playoffs in his first season as head coach. Or they could lose tomorrow, going into the offseason still needing to answer the quarterback question, but with a very clear picture of a defense in desperate need of an overhaul. Winning doesn’t make them a Super Bowl caliber team, losing doesn’t make them a terrible disappointment. Their offense can be spectacular. Their defense is atrocious. They’ve been able to put together bursts of good football, but have not played a truly great complete game this season – and probably won’t. There will be a lot to discuss in the offseason, but as for Week 17, I’m at peace with whatever happens. However it ends for the Bears, it will be deserved.
That said, here is my prediction – Jay Cutler plays well enough to earn himself a new contract. The offense gives a great performance, giving us a lot of excitement to look forward to next year – but the defense cannot stop the run or Aaron Rogers. Packers win 37-31.
But I’d sure love to be wrong….