From the Archive had a lovely game from 2001 lined up to feature this week, but I'm far too excited about the upcoming season to write about Shane Matthews, John Shoop, and the A-Train right now. Instead, follow me below the fold as I set the over/under for roster spots, free agent moves, rookie signings, and otherwise prepare to make myself look foolish by making wild predictions. Onwards!
Here's how it works - I set the line and make my prediction, and then you can call me an idiot, praise my amazing predictive powers, or make your own guesses about the Bears' future in the comments.
Rookie starters for week one: 2.5
There is little doubt that Carimi will be on the offensive line come September, barring a Chris Williams-type injury before the regular season or a big-name free agent coming to the team. Other than that, however, I don't see a lot of room for rookies to come in and play right away. Perhaps we will see another rookie in the safety rotation, and in a perfect world we would have a rookie come in to take over the SLB spot to get some youth in the position. The only other position that I think we will have a rookie make a serious play for is punter, but who knows who else the team will bring in other than the UDFA whose name is now escaping me. While the Packers showed everyone the value of having a young team, with the shortened calendar before week one, it'll be a hard road for any rookie to be a week one starter. UNDER
Non-rookie, non-Bear free agents on the 53-man roster: 3
I get the feeling that Jerry Angelo has his cell phone in one hand and PFT on his laptop, watching for free agent offensive linesmen to hit the open market. Again, the Bears will be looking to find a young but proven commodity for a third linebacker, and Angelo is also known to hoard defensive linesmen. If Kreutz gets a better offer somewhere else, watch for Jerry to make unnecessarily large bids on the other veteran centers in free agency. OVER
Weeks that Donovan McNabb will remain the Vikings starter: 8.5
When will poor Zygli learn? After having his team's hope rise and then fall into the hands of Sidney Porter when he brought in Brett Favre, he's gone out and found another aging QB to use as a stop-gap until they can actually find a starting caliber quarterback. McNabb proved last year with Washington that he is not the kind of QB who can carry a team by himself, and with Ponder waiting in the wings and the Vikings' chances of being above .500 by midseason looking slim, I think Les Frazier will be in a full rebuilding phase before Thanksgiving. UNDER
Number of weeks NFC North starting QBs are benched because of concussions or injuries: 5
Owners and GMs did backflips when the owners told them they would have to bench their QB if they sustained a significant head or neck injury until they were cleared by a doctor: while everyone in football likes a tough guy, nobody likes a tough guy who is out for the season because of a major injury, especially the people who pay them millions a year. Between Stafford's history of getting injured by onrushing Bears players and the scrambling habits of Jay and Aaron Rodgers, I'm inclined to go with the even here, but with Donovan McNabb likely to be in the mix as well, I think this one will go a bit higher, as he'll need a two game nap sometime before his inevitable benching. OVER
Amount of stock I will put in this year's preseason games: 0
I'll take the EVEN here. It's going to be an ugly one, folks, and after last year's outings, that's saying something. Think of every preseason game you watch as being like taking a trip down to training camp without the hour and a half drive from the city!
Bears division wins: 3.5
This is a somewhat pessimistic line, but I went with a fraction so people don't get to simply say that we sweep the Vikes and split games with the Pack and the they-might-actually-be-good-this-year Lions. Still, that is pretty close to my prediction: I think that we can sweep the Lions one more time given that their offense hasn't shown it can match up against the likes of Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher, split the series with the Pack, and ring up two easy wins against the 'queens. OVER
Again, please tell me just how wrong I am in the comments, and see you back here next week, where I will start my own preseason training with the unveiling of the in-season version of From the Archive.