The Bears’ irrelevance does not equal less eyes or less intrigue. While they’re eliminated from playoff contention, there was virtually no chance the NFL would flex out a home Sunday night matchup with the Chiefs.
Too many people are still invested in the adequate Bears and their foibles to pass up such a ratings opportunity. Too many would desire an early, well-wrapped holidays gift in the form of a (very hopeful) surprise upset of a Super Bowl contender. Look no further than any primetime ratings report for the Bears when they struggle to win five games, at best. The No. 3 market in the country never disappoints even when the product almost always does. If there’s one perennial thing to count on when it comes to the Bears playing in front of a national audience, it’s Chicagoland tuning in to not only watch a mediocre team play out the string, but complain about how and why they’re playing out the string in a confusing annual existential crisis. (Never mind NBC being left with minimal flexibility thanks to three Saturday afternoon games, as well as separate broadcasting rights for FOX and CBS on viewing gems such as Eagles-Cowboys and Ravens-Browns, respectively. )
Quarterback narratives will be the hot button issue throughout the telecast. If Mitchell Trubisky remains Chicago’s lead signal-caller for the foreseeable future, this is the only opportunity to squeeze out the juice of “Trubisky-Mahomes” for at least four seasons. (Barring a mythical and unattainable matchup in the postseason, which, well, can only happen in February. Don’t hold your breath.) If you think you’ve had quite enough of this 2017 Draft juxtaposition firestorm hand-delivered throughout Trubisky’s career to this stage, Sunday night should recalibrate your expectations entirely. It’ll be the fresh apex of criticism and at a certain point, a new low of bullying to some. I’d be surprised if many who consider themselves Bears loyalists maintain the desire to watch all 3.5 hours of the proceedings.
Everyone’s a responsible adult (in an ideal world) capable of making their own rational decisions. But I wouldn’t risk playing drinking games centered around “Trubisky” and “Mahomes” being mentioned in the same sentence. That’s a fast track, one-way ticket to the hospital. Or worse.
The Windy City Gridiron staff picks Bears-Chiefs.
Robert Zeglinski: Chiefs 24, Bears 16
I don’t think the Bears pack it in and get their golf bags prepared. But the Chiefs are a contender playing for a first-round bye. The more desperate and better team wins.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.: Chiefs 27, Bears 17
The Chiefs are rolling and they have something to play for, while the Bears are still struggling to play a four-quarter, three-phase game.
Bill Zimmerman: Chiefs 27, Bears 13
Bears Twitter will burn after Patrick Mahomes runs circles around Mitchell Trubisky.
Sam Householder: Chiefs 28, Bears 10
I will miss the Bears when they aren’t playing, but it’s hard to say that now. I’ll be pulsating with rage as everyone trolls Bears fans with, “How’d they trade up for this guy over Mahomes?” every time Trubisky drops back.
Robert Schmitz: Chiefs 33, Bears 13
Did you know the Chiefs defense is ranked sixth in pass-defense DVOA? Trubisky turns in another clunker and the game gets out of hand by the late third quarter.
WhiskeyRanger: Chiefs 24, Bears 21
The Chiefs’ offense hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire of late. The Bears’ defense stifles them enough for Trubisky and the Bears’ offense to make it close against a middling Kansas City defense.
Ken Mitchell: Bears 24, Chiefs 21
Coming off a huge win against a hated rival, this one’s a trap game for Kansas City.
Robert wants to know why every pundit has neglected to mention that the Chiefs could’ve drafted Joel Iyiegbuniwe instead of Dorian O’Daniel. Typical national media bias!
WCG Contributors: Jeff Berckes; Patti Curl; Eric Christopher Duerrwaechter; Kev H; Sam Householder; Jacob Infante; Aaron Lemming; Ken Mitchell; Steven Schweickert; Jack Silverstein; EJ Snyder; Lester Wiltfong, Jr.; Whiskey Ranger; Robert Schmitz; Robert Zeglinski; Bill Zimmerman; Like us on Facebook.