Chicago Bears Win over Houston Sunday Night Should Finally Silence the Critics
It will secure the Bears as legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
At least for now, many skeptics persist around the country. Likely based somewhat on homerism, and partly out of jealousy, there are simply a lot of NFL fans around the country who believe the Bears just aren't for real.
They point out, for one, that the Bears have played only one really good team, and that they lost to that team. They also talk about the offense, and how it's not good enough to beat the top echelon of the league.
Now, one cannot argue about who they have played, but what can the Bears do—they have to play the team that's on the schedule. And the fact that they've beaten all of the underdogs on their schedule is an impressive feat.
And as for the offense, well, that continues to be the team's Achilles' heel. Yet with a defense that scores more often than Alex Rodriguez during a ballgame, who needs a great offense? I would be fine with one that reduces its mistakes at this point.
Meanwhile, it is true that the Bears are going to need that offense at some point, as the defense probably won't be able to keep up this frenetic pace all season.
But even if that's true, hopefully by then they will have figured things out on that side of the football. After all, they do have Jay Cutler, Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall, so it's not as if they lack weapons.
Look, do I get occasionally flustered by the Bears' inability to move the ball and score touchdowns in the red zone? Absolutely.
Yet for anyone that claims the Bears are "posers" I have three words for you: The '85 Bears. (Is "'85" a word? I'm not sure, but humor me here).
There are few people that wouldn't put that Super Bowl-winning team up there among the greatest teams of all time, and that was mainly due to their suffocating defense. And while I'm not saying this year's defense is as good as that one, in at least one important way, it is actually better.
This year's model scores more than "Da Bears" of '85 did. As hard as that may be to believe, it is a fact.
Lovie Smith may be the polar opposite of Mike Ditka, and this team may lack some of the colorful characters of the '85 Bears, but consider what the 2012 defense has done as compared with the Super Bowl team after each had played eight games.
- 2012: 120 points allowed. 1985: 114 points allowed.
- 2012: 28 turnovers (or "takeaways" as Lovie insists). 1985: 29.
- 2012: Seven touchdowns vs. only four for the '85 team for the entire season.
Now this team may never record a Super Bowl Shuffle, but they are only two defensive TDs away from tying the all-time NFL record.
The reason the '85 defense seemed to be so much more dominant is that they blitzed a lot, and they had two players with double-digit sack totals, while the Bears spread the love around more. Plus, QBs were generally less mobile back then.
Granted, in '85, the Bears allowed only 13 points over their next four games combined, while it's highly doubtful the 2012 team can do that.
The lack of an explosive and consistent offense has been partially offset by a defense that scores at a historic pace. They lead the league in point differential (+116). And they're doing all this in the toughest division in football.
The NFC North is the only division that does not have a team with a losing record or a team with a negative differential.
And not to take anything away from the Texans, but they are the only team in their division with a positive point differential to date.
They are, however, unbeaten on the road (3-0).
Houston also comes into the Sunday night tilt with an equally impressive 7-1 record, so a Bears victory over the Texans will shut up the critics and finally start to get the Bears the respect they deserve.
A loss, and everyone will say "I told you so."
Then, following Sunday's tough battle against a very solid Houston team, the Bears travel to San Francisco to face the 49ers on Monday Night Football. A win versus both teams would eliminate almost any argument against the Bears being a Super Bowl contender.
Of course, even if the Bears defeat Houston, if they lose to San Francisco, people will be back to doubting the team once again.
But that's jumping ahead of ourselves. For now, I'll happily take a win over Houston. Then we can worry about the Niners next week.
Respect is such a fleeting thing.
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