The Bears draw the Titans for today's matchup, the halfway point of the season - and one that, while the Bears are currently 6-1, doesn't give Bears fans and pundits much comfort about the strength of the team. But after last week's gutcheck of a win, I'm pretty sure this one can't fall under the "trap game" heading. Before the Bears head into matchups against the 49ers and Texans, among others, they have to take care of business today.
Chris Johnson's looked pretty good over the last two weeks - but it's easy to look good when you're running in empty space with nobody tackling you. Seriously, Buffalo and Indianapolis have awful run defenses, and Johnson did what he's supposed to. But the Bears come in ranked 8th in yards-per-carry-against, far better than those other two teams, and Johnson hasn't had too great of a year outside of that. And if the Titans can't run the ball on the Bears, that puts the game in the hands of Matt Hasselbeck, who for all the crap I've tossed his way over the last two days has a quarterback rating over 100 in the last two weeks, so he can still get it done.
Of course, the big worry is Kamerion Wimbley, the TItans' big free agent acquisition, as I'm sure he's watched the tape of Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson from last week. I'd expect a tight end to shadow him across the field.
Meanwhile, on the navy and orange side of things, the offense hasn't been pretty, but they've been just enough to get things done this year behind a defense that's at times been like having a second offense on the field. With Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings both playing pretty good football, they can succeed a little better even when the defensive line struggles getting penetration. All eyes are almost certainly going to be on the offense, though, as they had a rough time of it last week and need to tighten things up before getting into the roughest part of their schedule. Getting to 7-1, though, is the key.
Sean Payton signed a multi-year extension in September... or did he? Sources say his contract's been voided, and he'll be a free agent next season. Of course, the NFL is in denial mode.
Chris Conte thought someone played a Halloween prank on him. Nope; $21,000 buys a lot of freaking candy though.
The Titans want to rattle Jay Cutler. What, like, a rattle snake or something? I'm sure something rattles him, but it's probably more related to something his kid's shaking in the middle of the night. Oh, Justin Babineaux said something about Cutler holding the ball too long and sacking him, maybe that clears it up.
White gloves, pink drawers - sure, let's just blame everything about how leagues handle serious brain injuries on the NFL. Monty Williams said he suffered "four or five" concussions in the NBA; I'm pretty sure the total's a lot higher than that.
No Finances League: Antonio Brown was hit for 10K for his backward jog into the end zone. Deserved.
Expect pretty much good solid football weather - 58 degrees, partly cloudy.
TV and stuff like that:
Bears: Alshon Jeffery, Dane Sanzenbacher, Edwin Williams, Matt Toeaina, Brody Eldridge, Amobi Okoye, Cheta Ozougwu.
Titans: QB Jake Locker, LB Patrick Bailey, G/C Leroy Harris, T Byron Stingily, WR Lavelle Hawkins, LB Will Witherspood, DT DaJohn Harris
This is your pre-party open thread; as always, Open Thread Responsibly (TM). Gamethreads will be up at game-time and as each period begins.