After careful thought and consideration, Andrew Zeoli came up with this week's Bears vs. Packers preview:
The Hatfields vs. The McCoys. Creationism vs. Darwinian Evolutionary Theory. Israel-Palestine. The world is full of conflict. But nothing trumps the eternal gridiron Cold War of Bears vs. Packers. Nothing.
91 years. 186 meetings. 1415 combined franchise wins. 22 NFL championships. And now, on September 13, 2012, the Bears and Packers have decided to lend their iconic warring tribes to the NFL Network, essentially giving birth to season-long Thursday Night football. Bears-Packers is “The Cosby Show” of Thursday Night, the sitcom anchor which launched the idea of “Must-See-TV”.
But Bears-Packers goes far, far beyond mere Must-See TV. This game, this altruistic effort to legitimize the NFL Network, will be transmitted off into time and space, and some distant, undiscovered planet’s eventual receipt of these transmitted satellite images of Da Bears dominating their arch rivals will be the beacon that somehow unlocks a way for intelligent extra-terrestrial lifeforms to find their way to Earth. And these aliens will be Bears fans.
Bears-Packers! In Week 2. On a Thursday. It’s the September Super Bowl, y’all! Are you ready?
The Chicago Bears sure are. After dismantling Andrew Luck and the Colts in Week 1, 41-21, behind a sexy, very un-Bearlike passing attack and 5 forced turnovers, the Bears are fiending for an opportunity to assert their NFC North supremacy. Their hated rivals are the fortuitous, yet ominous, knock of that opportunity.
The Packers remain a strong Super Bowl contender, despite winning only 2 of their last 5 games dating back to last year’s toe-stubbing against the Chiefs after a 13-0 start. Their statistically-poor defense has become a full-blown albatross as the league’s stingier defenses are able to slow down the Packers’ explosively one-dimensional offense enough to squeeze out victories. It also helps when your kicker ties NFL records by bouncing 63 yard field goals in over crossbars. Or, you know, your opponent has absolutely zero running game.
Ah, running backs. Remember what those are, Green Bay? The Packers signing of Cedric Benson, in addition to stoking the flames of Bears fans’ hate-fires, was a clear admission of their relative weakness in the backfield. If I was a Packers fan, and therefore unattractive and evil, I would have to wonder why the franchise I senselessly stick cheese on my head for can’t draft or develop a Chris Johnson or Jamaal Charles-type running back. With the arsenal of weapons Aaron Rodgers has in the passing game, all that stand in the way of a certain dynasty is a lightning-quick back who can rip large gains on draw plays and take screen passes to the house as defenses focus on their 7 billion receivers instead.
There is also that whole we-have-no-defense conundrum. And, oh yes, the glorious, wonderful Chicago Bears, who are poised to usurp the 2011 NFC North Champions and reclaim the throne.
The main catalyst in Chicago’s ascension will continue to be a burgeoning passing attack that feels borderline illicit. Like, should we be watching this? I feel a little dirty watching Brandon Marshall eviscerate cornerbacks and safeties and swallowing up passes from Jay Cutler’s sentient robot arm.
Reunited at last, Cutler and Marshall reignited their 2008 chemistry, as Marshall exploded with 9 receptions, 119 yards and a touchdown against the Colts. He easily could have had 3 touchdowns, as the Colts were twice flagged for pass interference in the end zone on drives that ended in short touchdown runs from fellow Bears newbie Michael Bush. Cutler threw for 333 yards and 2 touchdowns, after starting the game 1 for 10 with a “pick six”.
As long as the Bears can avoid a similarly disastrous start against the Packers, who have more than enough weapons to make the Bears pay for any mistakes, I envision a close, thrilling Bears victory in the living Museum-of-the-Obese known as Lambeau Field.
I simply cannot wait to hate-watch this epic grudge match on a large screen with a six pack at the ready, fueled by an unquenchable to “crush the Packers, see them driven before me, and hear the lamentations of their women.”
ZEOLI’S AGGREGATE BOOZE CONSUMPTION/ENTHUSIAM RATING: 8 Beers, 4 kegstands, 1 shotgunned wine cooler.
PREDICTION: DA BEARS – 31, Skeezy, Overbearing Cheeseheads - 27