We’ll start turning the page to the post-bye portion of the Bears schedule tomorrow. But first, a few hours on the road to wind down my own bye week.
• Is it weird that I’m going to miss watching the Bears today? OK, probably. But I think we can all admit we’d rather watch Justin Fields sling it around the gridiron today. Don’t worry. We’re not alone. In fact, we’re early adopters. And soon, more will follow:
All aboard the Justin Fields bandwagon
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) November 13, 2021
• Need a Fields fix? This will do:
Was inspired by this @BaldyNFL breakdown of @justnfields recent performance to add some additional footage to a superb edition of #BaldysBreakdowns#DaBears @WCGridiron https://t.co/GNNuIAe7C5 pic.twitter.com/ubLpaZM8tL
— ʜᴏʟᴍᴇʀɪᴄᴀ (@EricHolmer) November 13, 2021
• A second consecutive Sunday of Bearslessness is upon us. So, here is what today’s schedule looks like:
ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, Week 10, now on the air. pic.twitter.com/PxSf2qOK0w
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 14, 2021
• All right, so we’re rooting for the Chargers, Steelers, and Seahawks on this Bears-free Sunday. Right? Or are we silently rooting for the Packers because it mucks up a path to the postseason for a potential NFC wild card team? I partly wrote that with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek. But also … the Bears making the playoffs is not impossible. Because according to FiveThirtyEight’s projections, the Bears are still mathematically alive for the postseason. And while I have my doubts, I’d be willing to be wrong if it meant seeing what Justin Fields could do in a postseason game. But that climb is going to be a doozy.
• Before we jump into this, just know that only two NFC teams (Washington, Detroit) have longer odds of making the postseason than Chicago. It’s almost as if losing winnable games against the Niners and Steelers were costly for this bunch. However, it’s not like the teams in front of the Bears — all seven of them — are knocking anyone’s socks off. After all, there’s a reason there are a bunch of teams on the blob this time of year.
• Here’s how long the Bears’ odds are right now. Per FiveThirtyEight, the Bears have a 5 percent chance of making the playoffs. Not great. But losses by the Falcons, Panthers, Vikings, Seahawks, Niners, and Eagles pushes it to 8 percent. That everything going right for the Bears today would increase their chances at making the playoffs by 3 percentage points, and still have them at less than 10 percent to make it should put everything in perspective. In other words, rooting for schadenfreude will go only so far.
• One thing I’ll root for is Cam Newton’s return to Carolina kicking off with a package of plays that results in a TD:
#Panthers QB Cam Newton is expected to be active, source said. He still may not play. But maybe in a package of plays…
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 14, 2021
• Elsewhere in the league, one quarterback I can’t root for today is Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers QB will miss today’s game against the Lions while on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. And suddenly, I can’t escape thinking about this image without worrying about the Bears QB:
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) November 9, 2021
• Mason Rudolph, who my circle of friends knows better for being a former boo of a finalist from a recent season of The Bachelor, gets the start in Roethlisberger’s place. Dwayne Haskins, a first-round pick in 2019, is active for Pittsburgh for the first time this season.
• Big Ten football found a way to entertain me on Saturday with two “how did that happen?” plays:
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 13, 2021
• A celebration for the ages:
— no context college football (@nocontextcfb) November 14, 2021
• There were a bunch of people sending me this yesterday, and I can understand why:
GARRETT WILSON ARE YOU KIDDING#CFB
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) November 13, 2021
Garrett Wilson: PFF’s WR1️⃣ in 2022 Draft 🔥pic.twitter.com/PjH52xy5Hs
— PFF (@PFF) November 13, 2021
• Garrett Wilson is a stud receiver prospect. And the Bears could use one (or two … or three) play-making pass-catchers for Justin Fields to target. But recent mock drafts CBS Sports, NBC Sports Chicago, PFF, and PFN all have Wilson as a future first-round pick. And because the Bears don’t have a first-rounder, this puts them out of the running. Sorry, friends. I didn’t like being the bearer of bad news. But, hey, there are many fish in the sea of receivers. So, keep your chins up.
• A fun tidbit: The Bears are currently positioned to have their first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft be 40th overall. Or the eighth selection in Round 2. And for what it’s worth, there are a handful of positional top-5 prospects on Mel Kiper Jr.’s ratings who project to be available (per a way-too-early Tankathon mock draft) in Round 2. Among them are Alabama’s Jameson Williams (WR2), Michigan’s Daxton Hill (S2), Penn State’s Jahan Dotson (WR3), Auburn’s Roger McCreary (CB3), North Carolina’s Storm Duck (CB4), Boston College’s Zion Johnson (OG4), Minnesota’s Daniel Faalele (OT5), and Alabama’s Jordan Battle (S5). Again, it’s way too early to fall down that rabbit hole. But it’s never too early to acknowledge its existence.
• Happy birthday to Angelo Blackson, whose first career interception was a key part in the Bears’ home-opener win against the Bengals:
Blackson. Birthday. Big guy INT. pic.twitter.com/AKkoOWcRjN
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) November 14, 2021
• An old friend finds a home on the Saints’ 53-player roster:
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 13, 2021
• Pots and pans, arts and crafts, belts and wallets, projectors and books, and more are your Early Black Friday Deals today at Amazon. #ad
• A new coach with a different vision breathing new life into a struggling team? What a concept:
Blackhawks Rally Behind Interim Coach Derek King: “We want to play our hearts out for him”https://t.co/4P2qzjdkMj
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) November 13, 2021
• It is still mildly annoying that the NBA suddenly cares about tampering as soon as the Bulls could benefit from it:
Tampering Investigation Update, DeRozan Stays Calm, Already Missing Vucevic, and Other Bulls Bullets https://t.co/nzUm9TyhVc
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) November 13, 2021
• I know the Bears front office has a some heavy lifting ahead in the coming years, but the new-look Cubs brass has its work cut out, too:
The Cubs’ two bosses had a big week at the GM Meetings, laying the groundwork and such. https://t.co/36Ghr4befI
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) November 13, 2021