The Bears are in the midst of a free fall, dropping five of their past six games while the Rams haven’t gotten up high enough to be in consideration for a free fall this season. Their sole victory came against the Detroit Lions. So it would appear that despite recent struggles, the Bears should come out of this game on top.
That all said, my brother posed a question to me after last week's embarrassment at the hands of the Vikings:
Do I, as a Bears fan, want the Chicago Bears to actually win this week?
It is an age-old question that is always brought up when a team is out of the playoffs and the fans start wondering about their team’s draft spot. Now in the Bears situation, they have a total of zero draft picks the first day of the draft (thanks Jerry) but they do have something else to “lose” for.
If the Bears finish the season at, say, 6-10, with the two wins being over the Rams and in the season finale versus the Lions and the three losses to the Packers, Ravens and Vikings, Lovie Smith will use Ron Turner as the scapegoat and fire him. If that happens, Lovie will keep his job for at least one more year and, predictably, the Bears will have another subpar season in 2010.
For the record, I think Turner should be fired, I just do not think he should be the only one.
But let us just say the Bears lose out, finish the season at 4-12 and ride a NINE-game losing streak into the offseason. Wouldn’t that force GM Jerry Angelo to make a change at head coach? The simple fact of losing 11 out of the last 12 games, with the only victory coming against the Browns, would have to force a major move by Bears management. Would it, dare I say, even force team president Ted Phillips to make a change at the general manager position?
Now let me be clear on this, I am rooting for the Bears to destroy the Rams this weekend. As I told my brother, I can never bring myself to root against the Bears in any situation. But his argument will be made by many others because, let's face it, by losing now, the Bears might actually be doing what is best for the future.
Look at what would happen if we beat the Rams…
1. The offense gets in a good rhythm. Maybe Jay Cutler throws more touchdowns than interceptions (a feat he has accomplished only four times this season). Matt Forte could be geared up for a big game, facing one of the league's worst rushing defense.
Sidenote: Did you know that the Bears currently “boast” the league's worst rushing offense? I mean, I knew we were bad, but I didn’t realize we are DEAD LAST in the NFL! That is depressing.
2. It should solidify Chris Williams at the left tackle position. The Rams do not have the most fearsome front four, so it should give Williams a chance to reacclimatize himself with the position he held before the Bears coaching staff moved him at the start the year.
3. The Bears defense should be able to keep Kyle Boller in check while focusing on shutting down a still-dangerous Steven Jackson.
4. A win will make the Bears 5-7 and keep alive an outside shot at a winning record, which I am sure will make for a very mild-mannered and monotonous postgame speech from Lovie.
Now, if the Bears lose to the Rams…
1. They will be embarrassed on local television and have to face the shame in handing the Rams their second win of the season.
2. The Bears’ fan base will be calling for heads to roll right then and there, to heck with the end of the year.
3. It means that either the Bears defense just simply quit or it means Jay and our awful rushing attack turned the ball over.
4. A loss will guarantee nothing better than a .500 season, which I am sure will make for a very mild-mannered and monotonous postgame speech from Lovie.
It might also make the upper management, and hopefully the McCaskey family, take notice of just how far this team has fallen in the three seasons since their Super Bowl appearance.
But with all that said, I will still rock my Bears jersey (maybe Idonije, maybe Big Cat) come Sunday morning and find a bar that will play this game (there has to be one, right?) and hope the Bears blow them out.
Meanwhile, halfway across the world, my brother will be rooting for a Bears loss at the hands of arguably one of the worst three teams in football.
And yet, despite me hoping for a win and him hoping for a loss, we both have the same goal in mind: Chicago Bear success. Kind of ironic, isn’t it?