Heading into Week 17, The Bears are not only NFC North champs for the first time in 8 years, but Playoff bound for the first time in that same stretch. They are also riding a 3 game win streak, coming off a tough road win over a suddenly decent San Francisco 49ers team, and are heading into another tough Divisional match up with a Vikings team that still has playoff aspirations.
In other words, for the first time in nearly a decade, the Bears are still relevant in Week 17. With that, questions are abound in the minds of Bears fans everywhere, thus kicking off this week’s Mailbag:
Do you think Anthony Miller is going to be an issue in the future with regard to penalties/fights? I like that he is passionate but wonder if it’s not going to get him in some trouble in some games.— Travis Jernigan (@Monk_316) December 25, 2018
As you said, Anthony Miller is passionate. And passion is always a double edged sword. It’s something you love to see in a player, as it usually signifies someone willing to put in extra effort for their craft. That said, it’s going to get the better of them on occasion. And that’s what we’re going to get with Anthony Miller. He wants to be the best. He wants his TEAM to be the best, and he’s fiercely protective of that team, and his teammates. That, inevitably, is going to lead to some chippiness. With further coaching and maturity, he can probably learn to restrain himself better than he did last Sunday, but I doubt it’s something that ever completely goes away.
This likely won’t be the last time we see him mixing it up after the play, and also won’t be the last time we see him ejected. Yes, it will hurt the team on rare occasions in the future. But that same passion will help the team every single play he’s on the field. I think it’s an acceptable trade-off, and as a wise woman once said, “You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have, the facts of life”. Now that I think of it, I guess that doesn’t really make much sense… but it was stuck in my head, and I needed to share my pain. Enjoy!
Ooh. That’s actually tough. Division rivals are always dangerous given the familiarity that comes with facing teams/players twice a year. The Vikings are no exception, and their D is legit. The Seahawks have really surprised people this season, on the back of a solid defense, and a surprisingly effective commitment to the run game. After a rocky start, the Eagles have really solidified of late, and just rattled off two wins in a row against 10 win teams, a first in franchise history if you can believe it. Nick Foles seems to be over his early season issues, and has his team looking like a legit threat again at the right time. Of those teams, at this point, I would say that the Eagles are the biggest match up problem for the Bears.
The Vikings can be stopped if you contain their run game, with Kirk Cousins’ seeming inability to really challenge down field. The Seahawks are a bit one note as well, though Russell Wilson is always a threat to extend plays and make undisciplined defenses pay. The Eagles however, have playmakers all over that offense with Alshon, Ertz, Tate, Agholor etc, in addition to a varied and deep running back rotation with Adams, Smallwood and Sproles. Add to that a competent (of late) QB and a sound offensive mind running the show, and they certainly have the ability to challenge a Bears D that may not be at full strength (Callahan is on IR, and Eddie Jackson may or may not be back for the play offs). The Eagles defense is probably the weakest of the bunch due to multiple injuries in their secondary, but there is enough talent left there to punish any mistakes Mitch Trubisky and company happen to make.
So, yeah. Of those teams, the Eagles are the one that would worry me the most should the Bears see them in the post season. Thankfully, while they have a chance to get in, they are no lock.
Will bears do their best to beat Vikings in week 17 or pull the starters early?— Mack GOATED (@DaBears100) December 25, 2018
Honestly, I think it depends. Nagy has said that you play to win the game, and seeding is important to him. Plus, don’t underestimate the desire to knock a division rival out of the playoffs. This Bears team has been sluggish off extended rest this season, and I think that’s something Nagy is keenly aware of. So I wouldn’t expect any healthy players to get the entire game off in Week 17. In my mind, he plays everyone that’s ready to go.
Now, if the game is out of hand by the 4th quarter (either in favor of the Bears, or not), I’d be pretty shocked if most of the starters didn’t get pulled. ¾ of a game is probably enough to avoid the “time off bug”, and there’s no sense risking injury late in a game that’s all but decided. Especially not against a Vikings team that would likely either be pissed off that their season could be ending, or pinning their ears back against a Bears offense forced to throw. Let’s not forget, this is the team that knocked Mitch Trubisky out for two weeks on a late hit in the 4th quarter back in Week 11.
That will do it for this week’s Mailbag. With the holidays coinciding with the absence of Aaron Leming, this was understandably a light week for #AskWCG (I’ll try not to take it personally). But, you know what they say: Quality over quantity. And by they, I mean people lacking in quantity.
Happy Holidays everyone! Bear Down.
WhiskeyRanger is a freelance graphic artist/content creator, an avid Bears fan, and apparently speaks in the 3rd person now. You can follow him on Twitter @WhiskeyRanger29 and you can check out Bears and football related film study/video essays on his Youtube Channel.