I’m planning to have a meal with a friend who happens to be an Eagles fan. Surely, we’ll talk about Alshon Jeffery’s impact on his favorite team and I’ll try to pitch him on some sort of get-together based on the non-zero chance the Bears and Eagles meet in the playoffs. Hey, it can happen.
- Here’s a thought I had during Thursday night’s 49ers-Raiders game (if you even want to call it that): Wouldn’t it be something if we hit fast forward to 2020 and the Raiders have the last pick in the first round (because the Bears won the Super Bowl) while the Bears have the first pick in the second round because the Raiders had the worst record in football? After watching last night’s game, I can’t say it’s out of the realm of possibilities.
- A Bears fan’s two favorite teams should be the Bears (duh) and whoever is playing the Raiders (also, duh).
- Jon Gruden’s rebuild could still take off between now and then. After all, the Raiders are going to have three first-round picks in 2019 and one of them could very well be the first pick in the draft. Making the most of these picks will be the challenge, but the Raiders will be well-positioned to do so. Unfortunately, fans in Oakland won’t be able to see what the finished product looks like unless they travel to Las Vegas eight times a year. That’s a brisk 8 hour, 44 minute drive, if you’re keeping score at home.
- Well, at least the Raiders have this going for them:
Caesars Entertainment announces a 15-year partnership with Raiders and will be the first founding partner of the of the Las Vegas Stadium, the future home of the Las Vegas Raiders.
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) November 1, 2018
- We touched on this a bit in our most recent look at the Bears’ playoff odds, but this game is pretty significant to the Bears’ playoff chances. Here is another perspective, using ESPN’s Playoff Probability Leverage index:
NFL playoff leverage for week 9. pic.twitter.com/pW9lCPeJ2k
— Brian Burke (@bburkeESPN) November 1, 2018
- Wins are good and losses are bad. That’s obvious. But losing to a team you’re expected to beat really can do a number on your postseason odds. The Bears already took a hit because of an earlier loss to the Dolphins and can’t afford another defeat of that magnitude.
- Defense is going to play a major role in whether the Bears are a postseason contender. Defensive end Akiem Hicks has taken the next step toward being a dominant force in the front seven, writes Greg Gabriel over at 670 The Score. We’ve known Hicks as a stout run defender, but his pass-rush production has been better than what you would expect from a 3-4 defensive end. Hicks owns a 76.5 pass-rush grade from Pro Football Focus, which ranks him as the eighth-highest-graded interior defender when rushing the passer.
- On the other side of the line, there are some good signs popping up here and there that give me faith that Jordan Howard is about to his his stride:
— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) October 31, 2018
- Speaking of Howard, today is his birthday. And as fate would have it, No. 24 turns 24 today. Does this count as a golden birthday? By the time I learned what a golden birthday was, it was too late for me to celebrate … because my birthday is on the first of a month. Celebrating a golden birthday is a joy I’ll never get to feel. Sigh.
- You know what would make for a great present? Another game with 20+ carries. Here’s a fun statistical nugget: The Bears are 10-2 when Howard gets at least 20 rush attempts. Howard has two such games this season, both of which were Bears wins. How convenient!? Sure, when Howard gets going, it usually means the Bears are winning and they’re trying to run down the clock with their battering-ram back. But it also usually means there is balance in the attack. Take for example last week’s win against the Jets when the Bears balanced Mitch Trubisky’s 29 pass attempts with Howard’s 22 rushes. Balance is good.
- I’m not going to let some #takes ruin my enjoyment of competent quarterback play, and you shouldn’t either:
— NFL (@NFL) October 29, 2018
- Might as well pound the over so you have something else to root for:
How many interceptions will Nathan Peterman throw in Week 9 vs the Bears?
OVER 1.5 -120
UNDER 1.5 -120
— OddsShark (@OddsShark) November 1, 2018
- Hall of Famer in a box? This is hilarious:
- I could have gone without knowing this:
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) November 1, 2018