A 3 p.m. CT start for today’s Bears game allows me to cook a game day meal that can serve as lunch and dinner. I’ll be making my friend Jim’s short rib chili recipe, which you can check out for yourself here. Chili is one of those dishes you can eat for a couple of days, so since I don’t want to cook on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, I expect this to hold me over.
- The Bears could have one more primetime game in them before the postseason begins. Larry Mayer of the team’s official website explains a Bears-Vikings game that could have playoff implications for Minnesota is one of two Week 17 games featuring two teams with winning records. Thus, leaving the matchup as one that could be flexed into a 3:25 p.m. CT time slot or pushed all the way back to 7:20 p.m. on NBC. The NFL’s other option could be to put a Colts-Titans game that could decide a postseason spot in primetime, though I suppose the league could go without a Sunday night finale for a second consecutive year.
- FOX’s top broadcast team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman haven’t done a Bears game all season. Perhaps a Vikings-Bears Week 17 showdown at 3:25 p.m. CT gets them behind the mic for one.
- For what it’s worth, the Bears are 3-1 in primetime this year with wins against the Seahawks, Vikings, and Rams – three playoff contenders! Now that the Bears are safely in the playoffs, we can look back at Week 1 and chuckle about how wrong any of us were to go to negative town after just one game.
- Moving onto this week, I’m ready to roll:
- In case you missed it, the Bears will be without their Pro Bowl safety and rotational outside linebacker:
DB Eddie Jackson and LB Aaron Lynch did not travel with the team to San Francisco and have been downgraded to 'out' for Sunday’s game at the 49ers.
— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) December 23, 2018
- The 49ers are one of those teams you don’t want to face late in the season. You can say San Francisco is only playing for pride, you pride can be a powerful ally. Players who are deemed to have nothing to play for are often playing for jobs with the team they are currently on or a team that could sign them in the offseason. All I’m saying is never underestimate anyone playing for a new contract.
- Kurt Warner, you are a bold one:
Week 16 BOLD Predictions💥
A record-setting day for which rookie QB?
___ catches for 3 different @49ers vs. the Bears defense?
250+ scrimmage yards for ___________?
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) December 23, 2018
- Because there will be plenty of time between the time I finish Bullets and the start of the game, I feel like this would be a good time to share some good reads that will get us properly jacked up for the game. For example, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune outlines how the Bears went from worst to first in the NFC North. Reading through this reminded me of some of the lean times we had as Bears fans and sparked memories of doubting there was light at the end of the tunnel.
- I found this piece by Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times detailing how Matt Nagy’s signature post-game celebration connects him with the players he coaches up on a weekly basis to be interesting. Talk about bringing the BOOM!
- We often talk about how “getting the right coach” is so important to team turnarounds, but we don’t really touch upon how getting the right coach to build from what was left behind by the last regime comes into play. For all his flaws, John Fox instilled a sense of professionalism and accountability within his players during his three-year stint in Chicago. Those guys played hard despite being out-manned and overmatched in most weeks, which was a major step up from the Marc Trestman days.
- As for Nagy, he was an ideal fit to replace Fox because what he brought from an offensive standpoint and for what he brought as far as personality is concerned. These two coaches are on total opposite ends of the spectrum, but both helped shape the 2018 Bears. Because if Fox was the guy who straightened things out, that left Nagy to be the guy to teach guys it was OK to let loose. Think of it like a good cop, bad cop buddy combo.
- ESPN’s Kevin Seifert unearths the secret behind a good NFL turnaround story is having a strong coaching staff. Because while having a good head coach is important, a coach is only as good as the staff he builds around him and it’s clear the group coaching the Bears from top-to-bottom is an upgrade from what they have had in recent years.
- Mitch Trubisky continues to be the Rodney Dangerfield of young NFL quarterbacks because he gets no respect. NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal ranks the quarterbacks from the last four drafts and puts Trubisky in the “I Don’t Know Anything” category. Rosenthal writes believes Trubisky “has shown significant progress in his second NFL season, and a lot of smart people fully expect him to be a quality starter.” And yet, Rosenthal ranks him behind the likes Dak Prescott, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Josh Rosen, and Lamar Jackson.
- It’s been a while since the Bears have provided a special teams touchdown, though good luck replicating this against the 49ers:
This return was a thing of beauty🌪
— NFL Throwback (@nflthrowback) December 23, 2018