After last week’s crushing loss to the Cleveland Browns, the Chicago Bears are virtually eliminated from the playoffs. Their opponent this week, the Arizona Cardinals, have officially been eliminated from the playoffs, so what we have here is two teams with three games remaining on the schedule but not much to play for.
To help us find some intriguing storylines in this game, we sat down with Seth Cox from our sister site, Revenge of the Birds, to help us preview this big-time showdown.
1. How has year one of the new regime going in Arizona? Obviously, we aren’t seeing much with wins, but the team seems feisty most weeks, at least from afar.
They are and they are well coached and prepared, but they just lack talent on defense and getting Kyler Murray back so late, has caused issues with just the offense working well. The run game has taken a big step, Trey McBride is teetering on the border of being an elite tight end, but the rest of the passing game is beyond awful.
That is a problem. Marquise “Hollywood” Brown has been down with a heel injury, and while he has gutted it out, he has as many catches as us the last couple of games in the month of December.
So, how do you judge? Well, they seem to be prepared and are just not quite good enough on defense, and they are improving on offense.
I guess that is where you are at when you only win three games.
2. How has Paris Johnson been this year? There was plenty of debate among Bears fans about whether they should take Paris Johnson or Darnell Wright in the draft, obviously, Johnson went before the Bears were able to select him, but Wright has been good for Chicago, so curious how Johnson’s first year has been.
He has been fine. He has had a lot of great players he has had to play against this season and had highs and lows, but he is playing right tackle for the first time in his career (I mean seven snaps at Ohio State if we want to be very accurate) and that is the tough thing to do as a rookie.
So, I think him being fine says a lot in terms of he looks like a guy who should be good, who should be a pillar of a good offensive line as he continues to grow.
Our biggest question is will he be the left tackle next year, or will they be looking at a left tackle in the draft, or will they stay with veteran D.J. Humphries for one more year?
3. With the Bears holding the Panthers first round pick in 2024, we’ve been paying attention to the Cardinals a decent amount in terms of draft positioning. It seems, and correct me if I’m wrong, that if Caleb Williams and Drake Maye are the first two selections and the Cardinals have the third pick that Marvin Harrison would be the selection. Do you agree with that way-too-early assessment? I’m also curious, if the Cardinals end up with the second pick, do you think they would take Maye and try to move on from Kyler Murray?
Seems like both teams (and likely all teams) could use a Marvin Harrison Jr. and for the Cardinals I think it is even more important in the fact that they need help at wide receiver desperately.
I am not kidding when I say they probably have the worst wide receiver room (right now) in the NFL. So, if you move on from Kyler Murray, you do so at the loss of MHJ and likely getting a high-impact free agent wide receiver. So then you have to hope that one of the next tier of phenomenal wide receiver prospects in the NFL Draft pool, gets to your pick and with how high level this class is, there should be one, but how far of a drop off will it be?
I think this is a good rehab for Murray, you get him a couple of weapons and then you evaluate next year, and are able to move on without taking the massive cap hit.
4. Speaking of Kyler Murray, how has he looked coming off the injury? How much confidence do you have in him as the team’s quarterback?
Again fine. He looks like he is finding his way in a new offense, one that is different than anything he did in college or his first four seasons as a pro.
He looks comfortable on the script, quite a bit actually, but as things change you see where they lack talent around him and he is trying to fight through wanting to put on the cape and just run and instead looking to create plays within the pocket or down the field.
So, I think he has been fine, not worth the contract, but not surprising with no offseason, no training camp and in the the midst of a terrible injury situation where his wide receivers have basically not practiced and it shows.
Hoping the final three games show even more.
5. Are there any particular Cardinals’ prop bets that you see on DraftKings Sportsbook that you might recommend to Bears fans?
Weather permitting, I like a couple.
Matt Prater o1.5 field goals at plus money. As I have highlighted above, the Cardinals' offense has not been consistent enough for me to trust them to score touchdowns, but Prater has been the best kicker in the NFL this season, and if it is within 59 yards they are kicking.
Over 43 points. I like what the Bears are doing on defense, but I think the Cardinals keep things tight in a loss to the Bears and I don’t think the Cardinals can stop the Bears offense, so I think points will be in abundance, barring weather.
Good luck and good health to the Bears in this one.
So, Bears fans, will you be settling in on Christmas Eve and watching this one, or is this one you check the box score later that night when you sneak away from the family for a few minutes? Had the Bears held on against the Browns, we would all be excited for a potential steamroll here on Sunday, but the air is certainly out of the balloon, at least it is for this content creator.
And as always, if you want to place a little wager on the game, DraftKings Sportsbook has you covered.