It was an emotional Christmas in all the good ways and for all the right reasons. Here’s hoping your day was as positive as mine.
- Khalil Mack really fills out a uniform:
Looking great, @52Mack_! 🐻 ⬇️
🎥: leemack52 on IG pic.twitter.com/1NfHnlROkK
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) December 25, 2018
Imagine trying to stop Khalil Mack on the fast break pic.twitter.com/5A5CnhdUiO
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) December 25, 2018
- I haven’t seen a jumper that wet from a Bulls player since His Airness hung up his last pair of Air Jordan sneakers. And I love how he goes all out for the bit, rocking the red-and-black 11’s (worn only during the playoffs) with the knee bandaged up and no headband (remember, the Bulls didn’t allow players to wear headbands for a long time).
- If there’s anyone who can save the Bulls, it’s probably Khalil Mack. But since I don’t think he is draft eligible, the Bulls need to keep doing what they’re doing to secure the highest probability to draft Duke’s Zion Williamson. Just saying.
- Mitch Trubisky had a very specific Christmas wish:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) December 25, 2018
- All I want for Christmas is a trip to Club Dub in February:
- Fun fact: Trubisky is 14-11 as a starting quarterback. And while wins as a starting quarterback are treated by some like starting pitcher wins, I bring this up because there is a not-so-fun-fact tied to this nugget. Here are the starting quarterbacks (minimum 15 starts) since 1995: Kyle Orton (21-12), Rex Grossman (19-12), Jim Miller (15-11), Shane Matthews (8-7). This is the long way of saying it’s been a while since the Bears have had a good team and steady quarterback play at the same time.
- The bar is so low when it comes to Bears quarterbacking history, the only quarterback to start at least three playoff games for the Bears since Jim McMahon left the team is Rex Grossman, who started four games spanning the 2005 and 2006 seasons. It should go without saying, but it’s been rough sledding for Chicago signal callers over the years.
- OK, we can move on to something a little more cheery:
— David Chasanov (@AllThatChazz1) December 24, 2018
- Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Very yes. Every yes.
- Roquan Smith had one heck of a game last week (9 tackles, 1 sack, 2 tackles-for-loss, 1 quarterback hit) and he’s due to land this honor:
— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) December 25, 2018
- Smith is really coming into his own during the second half of his rookie season. In his last eight games, Smith has 75 tackles, 3 sacks, 4 tackles-for-loss, 3 quarterback hits, an interception, and four pass breakups. Extrapolate those numbers over a full 16-game season and we’re looking at a 150-tackle and 6-sack season from an inside linebacker. How can you not feel good about those numbers?
- Holding another team’s playoff fate in your hands must feel awkward:
The #Vikings control own fate Vs #Bears. How motivated will #Bears be? The #Eagles have beaten two 10-win teams last 2 weeks and should handle Redskins with 4-string QB. All depends on #Bears motivation and willingness to play starters with No2 seed a long shot. https://t.co/0xeABX1tWE
— Ed Werder (@EdwerderRFA) December 24, 2018
- To an extent, the Bears can decide who their playoff opponent for Wild-Card Weekend could be. A win against Minnesota, coupled with a Philadelphia win against Washington would set up an opening-round matchup of branches off the Andy Reid tree with Matt Nagy going up against Doug Pederson. Then again, a Bears win and a Rams loss would erase that as a first-round possibility and give us a third Rams-Eagles game in two years. I would certainly watch that with joy while not having to worry about the Bears for a week.
- For what it’s worth, Nagy has already put it out there that he plans to play to win the game. Although, he offered a caveat if things aren’t going his team’s way or if the No. 2 seed they’re playing for is out of reach. This is good news for Pederson, who may or may not have phoned in a favor to his pal at Halas Hall.
- FiveThirtyEight’s prediction machine has the odds of a Rams loss at 15 percent, which won’t give Eagles fans much confidence. The Vikings are given a 56 percent shot at knocking off the Bears, while the Eagles (65 percent win probability) are expected to knock off Washington. But this is why the games are played on the field and not in a computer simulation. Anything can happen. And that all these games of consequence will kick off at the same time (3:25 p.m. CT) only adds to the intrigue.
- The Bears’ 2018 season is so inspiring, others will use them as inspiration:
Reason for hope #Broncos fans? Five teams that missed playoffs last made it this season. Number could reach seven. The teams: Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Chargers and Seattle Seahawks. #Denver7 pic.twitter.com/jdf9Z6ZI2n
— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) December 26, 2018