In the NFL, three types of football games exist: Those that your team is expected to win, those that could go either way, and those that you're expected to lose.
On Monday night, the 5-8 Chicago Bears squared off against the 5-8 New Orleans Saints, and at first glance, one might surmise this was a game that could go either way. But let's take a closer look:
- The Bears had home field advantage
- The weather was cold, and the visitors were a dome team from the deep South
- The Saints defense ranked in the bottom four in all three major categories (passing yards/game, rushing yards/game, points allowed/game)
- The Bears coaching had 10 days of preparation compared to the standard 6 due to having last played on Thursday night two weeks ago
This game, on paper, could have been a push, but we could probably categorize it as a game they were expected to win. You know, like the games against the Vikings and Bucs.
But despite all of these factors, the product that Chicago put on the football field was, once again, hot garbage. It only took two offensive possessions for commentator and former head coach Jon Gruden to become visibly frustrated, and unfortunately for all parties involved, he stayed that was throughout most of the broadcast.
But the TV guys don't matter in the grand scheme of things. Winning does. And so does losing.
The one thing that kept Lovie Smith employed in Chicago a little bit longer than he should have been was the fact that he would typically always win the gimme-games, and would even surprise some folks with wins that weren't expected.
You have to win the gimme-games. You have to win the gimme-games, and many of the up-in-the-air games. And you need to win a few of the unexpected games. That's how you stay employed in the NFL.
But to have the offense be in such disarray after 10 days of prep, to look so incredibly disorganized, and to go out and not even be able to compete with a 5-8 Saints team that is having their own issues... To lose a game at home to a team that you should beat.... That's how coaches get fired.
There is an assumption around the league that defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is losing his job after the season is over, and the same is likely true for offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer.
There has also been stated assumptions that head coach Marc Trestman will get one more shot to make it right in 2015.
But if the final two games of the season are anything like what we've seen the last three weeks (and really for the entire season), Marc Trestman is going to be out of a job as well.
You've got to win the gimme-games... Even Lovie Smith figured that part out.