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Ten Thoughts on the NFL: Chicago Bears and beyond

The Super Bowl is set! How many of you guys predicted that Seattle and New England would be playing in the big game?

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1) Before the season started all of us writers and occasional contributors weighed in with our 2014 predictions. The only one that nailed the Super Bowl was Steve Ronkowski. Congrats Ronk!

2) This is unbelievable.

3) Also unbelievable, the Green Bay Packers led 16-0 against the Seattle Seahawks with about 8 minutes gone in the 3rd quarter. Seattle faced a 3rd and 19 and the Packers decided to rush three and play eight in coverage. The three couldn't get to Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson and after nearly 8 seconds to look for a receiver, he found Doug Baldwin for 29 yards and a 1st down.

That play was just one of the unbelievable plays in what was one of the greatest comebacks I've ever seen.

MORE FROM SB NATION: Watch Seattle's incredible comeback win over the Packers in 5 GIFs

4) Whether you like Richard Sherman or you hate him, and odds are pretty good you hate him, you've gotta hand it to Sherman for playing most of the 4th quarter with a bad elbow.

5) Speaking of the 4th quarter, Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch had 6 rushes for 69 yards and 1 catch for 26 yards in the quarter. He added 2 carries for 21 yards in overtime. That's 116 all purpose yards in the final 18 minutes, 19 seconds for Beastmode.

6) Who would have guessed that deflated balls would be a thing?

Controversy seems to follow the Patriots where ever they go.

7) I think the lopsided score of the AFC Championship game had as much to do with Indianapolis not being quite ready for that level of competition, as it did with New England being real good.

The Colts overachieved this year, but Andrew Luck is quickly becoming one of those quarterbacks you can never count out. Once that team fills some of the glaring holes on their roster, they will be a legit contender every year.

8) I'm really excited to see Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick match wits at the Super Bowl.

Remember the last time these two teams met was the "You Mad Bro" game that the Seahawks won 24-23 in 2012. I'll bet Tom Brady has been thinking about revenge ever since.

9) If you fancy yourself a draftnik, then you need to be up to date with all the goings-on at the Senior Bowl. The way the practices are covered these days, it's even more valuable than the scouting combine. NFL Scouts get a chance to see the players playing actual football (in pads and all) at the week of practice. SB Nation has a running story stream with all the pertinent information you need.

More prospects will move up or down draft boards during the next week than at any other time leading up to the draft. A few years ago Kyle Long drastically improved his stock by dominating at the practices.

10) When Dennis Allen, who many thought was a lock to become John Fox's Chicago Bears defensive coordinator based on their past, accepted an assistant coaching job with the New Orleans Saints earlier today, I wondered if Fox didn't have an Ace up his sleeve

He not only had an Ace, he had the whole Royal Flush in Vic Fangio.

Fangio was considered the top choice to succeed Jim Harbaugh as head coach in San Francisco. He was also highly recruited by the Redskins, but he ultimately went with Fox.

How great is it as Bears fans to have actual hope for the franchise.

10a) If Fangio does convert the Bears to a 3-4 defense, the latest mock draft by SB Nation's Dan Kadar could make a lot of sense. He has the Bears plucking Florida DE/OLB Dante Fowler at 7th overall.

Whether it's on the offensive or defensive line, the Bears need to find a player with this pick who will make an impact. Fowler is a relentless pass rusher the Bears could use in a number of ways.

He played all along the defensive front in college, but at an athletic 6'2", 260, Fowler probably fits as a 3-4 OLB. Last season at Florida he led the Gators with 8.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss.

10b) I mentioned this on Twitter earlier today, but it's worth expounding on.

In 2008, while running a 4-3 defense, the Green Bay Packers were 6-10 and their defense ranked 22nd in points allowed and 20th in yards allowed. The next season they hired Dom Capers, who runs a 3-4 defense and who Vic Fangio previously worked with, and their defense improved to 7th in points allowed and 2nd in yards allowed, while going 11-5. Now the jump in wins had as much to do with Aaron Rodgers as it did the improvements on D, but there's no denying the statistical improvements on D.

Adding 3-4 type players, B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews in the draft obviously helped as well, but the fact remains that a scheme change can happen relatively fast.