The Winter Meetings (MLB) in Las Vegas provided quite an experience. No, there weren’t any bank-breaking signings. But I was able to make connections and rub elbows with some fun, interesting, and intelligent folks. And I saw some things you’ll only see in Vegas – because, duh – it’s Vegas. Where else are you going to see Darth Vader and Chewbacca posing for photos with Transformers and Pikachu (Michael: At my 11th birthday party, probably)? Onward.
- The Bears are always a favorite team for Las Vegas wagerers, but being one game from clinching their first division title since 2010 has Bears backers emboldened in a way I’ve never seen. There are some sports books (including those at MGM Resorts) that have the Bears at 8-to-1 to win Super Bowl LIII, which shows how far the team has come since we first rolled the dice when they were a 100-1 shot.
- To be clear, there is still some value in an 8/1 bet because a $20 investment would pay out $180. But it’s nowhere near what it was earlier in the year or what it is at other books. You won’t find Bears Super Bowl odds lower than 16/1 right now, which is a testament to what they have done on the field and how much sharp minds value the team’s run of success.
- Matt Nagy and the Bears want your #ClubDub videos:
- I have not made my living room into Club Dub after a win as some fans have done, but if you need me I’ll be making blueprints to see how feasible it would be to do so. It’s been a while since I’ve mapped out a construction project.
- Club Dub has really taken the NFL by storm and I hope it’s open all the way into February:
Today’s podcast was magical..
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) December 13, 2018
- As Eddie Jackson’s stellar play continues to pass the eye test, it’s nice to know that advanced metrics back it up:
Eddie Jackson has performed at an elite level this season. pic.twitter.com/I6KuMwGYCg
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) December 14, 2018
- Loud fan support + great playmakers = minimal damage:
These teams don't give up the big play on defense, which usually makes you a pretty darn good defense.#DaBears #RavensFlock #DallasCowboys #Skol #Texans #Colts #DUUUVAL #GoBills #OnePride #TitanUp #GoSaints #ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/goDJxYXE56
— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFLMatchup) December 14, 2018
- If Matt Nagy is Coach Swaggy, then does that make Vic Fangio “Slick Vic” because if not, it should:
— Bears Talk (@NBCSBears) December 13, 2018
- Here is a thing I think about during quiet moments. Not only did the Bears defense keep its continuity by bringing back Fangio as the DC, they also did so and elevated him to the top defensive voice in the organization. Think about it for a moment. Fangio was always a strong force in the Bears locker room, but as long as John Fox was in charge, the defensive-minded head coach was always going to be the main voice of that side of the ball. But with Nagy’s expertise being on the offensive side of things, Fangio has been able to stretch out more than he did last year and I think we’re starting to see some of that swag drip through the entire defensive roster.
- You don’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. And while I’m not saying history is destined to repeat itself here, I’m just saying I wouldn’t mind it:
This is the first time Los Angeles send two teams to the NFL playoffs in the same year since 1985 when the #Raiders lost to the #Patriots in the Divisional round and the #Rams lost to the eventual champion #Bears in the NFC Championship Game.
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) December 14, 2018
- This could be one of the more intriguing Coach of the Year races we’ve seen in a while:
Current Coach of the Year ballot:
1) Anthony Lynn
2) Matt Nagy
— Jenny Vrentas (@JennyVrentas) December 14, 2018
- So while Nagy has revitalized a Bears organization from top-to-bottom with a refreshing outlook, a revamped offense, and some creative play-calling, Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn has a strong case after making Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes look human on Thursday Night Football. Mahomes still completed 70.6 percent of his passes, threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns while posting a 110.3 passer rating. However, Mahomes has posted an 7.3 yards/attempt the last three games after averaging 9.3 yards per attempt in his first 11 games. Man, this guy’s numbers look good even when they are coming back to earth. Wowza.
- A one-time candidate for the Bears’ head-coaching position is being recommended for a promotion:
John Wooten, chairman of Fritz Pollard Alliance, said #Vikings D-coordinator George Edwards again on list submitted to NFL Monday on recommended minority head-coaching candidates. Edwards interviewed last January for Bears job. Fritz Pollard Alliance works with NFL on Rooney Rule
— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) December 14, 2018
- The Vikings defense has been pretty good (again) this year, so perhaps George Edwards will get a fair shake from an organization looking to zag when everyone else is zigging.