There is something peaceful about watching the snow falling on a Sunday morning. Particularly when it doesn’t accumulate to the point where I have to shovel it. Whew.
- ICYMI: MVP candidates Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes led their respective teams to wins in the divisional round. We’ve got two more games today. Buckle up.
- The Bears really played the Eagles tougher in December than the Giants did last night. People forget that.
- Keeping it close against the Eagles had me wanting to pat Head Coach Matt Eberflus on the back for a job well done. Maybe that coaching hire will turn out to be a good one after all. The early returns from the analytical community are positive, at least according to one snazzy metric.
- The Giants have an interesting decision to make on running back Saquon Barkley, who is on the verge of becoming a free agent. Does he get the Franchise Tag? Or does that go to Daniel Jones? Will the Giants extend Barkley so they can tag Jones? Or do they tag Barkley and try to get Jones on a multi-year deal? Last night’s performance (15/27, 135 pass yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 53.8 passer rating) won’t do Jones any favors when it comes to these conversations. But Jones might be the best bridge option NYG has on the table. This is a situation we’ll keep tabs on this offseason.
- Poll time:
- I realize not paying running backs is the trendy thing to follow these days. In fact, I generally vibe with it. But the Bears have enough cap space to withstand what might turn out to be a sour contract. And Barkley isn’t just another running back. Don’t get me wrong. I understand the risks in paying running backs. Yours truly also understands the potential pitfalls. However, this feels like a situation that feels like an exception to the rule.
- There is also this to consider: The receiver market (as far as free agents go) is severely lacking. To me, that means the Bears will need to get creative in upgrading the passing game. And that might mean targeting a running back who could create mismatches catching passes out of the backfield. Or possibly a tight end who can be a two-way offensive contributor. Simply put, we need to think differently about how the Bears can go about this offseason.
- Let it be known that I’d love to see the Bears invest in rebuilding the offensive line. Doing so in free agency would be a way to go about it. Then again, it isn’t the only way. And we should be mindful of that. Anyway, I found myself marveling at what the Eagles have done to build their squad:
- What’s the takeaway from Philly? Firstly, it’s that it is important to keep taking shots in the draft. Any and all rounds. Secondly, coaching matters. So do development plans. Offensive Coordinator Luke Getsy and Offensive Line Coach Chris Morgan will have their work cut out for them no matter who is on the line in 2023. Finally, knowing that Bears Assistant GM Ian Cunningham spent time in Philadelphia gives me hope that Chicago’s football team can turn it around. My fingers are crossed.
- This is a casual reminder that Eagles cornerback James Bradberry is on the cusp of free agency:
- If anyone needs me, I’ll be dreaming of a secondary featuring Jaquan Brisker and Eddie Jackson at safety, Jaylon Johnson and Bradberry as boundary corners, and Kyler Gordon in the slot.
- The Jaguars continue to be an inspiration:
- There was so much I was digging about that play. From the get-go, I love Doug Pederson’s play design. It’s chef’s kiss good. But let’s not look past Trevor Lawrence dropping an absolute dot. And, hey, how about a big play made by a big-money free-agent acquisition?
- It’s almost as if investing in weapons around your young QB on the rise is a good idea.
- And even if you do, and do it well, there is no path that will come with perfect results:
- It was a rough night at the office for Giants OC Mike Kafka, but Charlotte Carroll’s profile of the NYG play-caller at The Athletic was a fun read.
- I had no business laughing as hard as I did after hearing this:
- Or this:
- Even this made me do a spit take:
- A friend made a good point via text last night: The Giants losing guarantees a top-flight title game matchup at the Super Bowl. Chiefs-Eagles? That’ll vibe. Chiefs-Niners rematch? I’d be down to watch it. Yours truly loves a good sequel. And while I’m not sure if it can be the Empire Strikes Back of Super Bowl rematches, maybe it can be on par with Batman Returns. But it’s not just the Chiefs who could make for an interesting AFC Super Bowl rep. A Bengals-Niners Super Bowl would come with 80s flashbacks. Meanwhile, Bills-Cowboys could do the same. Bills-Eagles could be fun. And so would Bengals-Eagles. The intrigue is undeniable in these NFL playoffs.
- Part of me wants to press the “SIM PLAYOFFS” button and get straight to the offseason. But the football that can still be played the next two Sundays could be elite. And I’m not sure I want to miss out on it. After all, we deserve to watch high-quality football after living through the Bears’ 2022 season.
- Patrick looks to keep the good times rolling with his picks at BN NFL:
- On the one hand, the Blackhawks should probably slow down on the winning if they want to keep their tank odds at their highest. But on the other hand, it is fun seeing the Blues lose:
- The Bulls should be active in the trade market. But I’m not sure what their best path is right now:
- OK, cool. The debate is settled:
A 2007 Bears Flashback, Let’s Learn from the Jags, Zay Getting His Flowers, Anderson vs. Carter, and Other Bears Bullets
Highlights of H1M, Georgia’s Blocking Bulldogs, RRH vs. KC, Potential Harris Homecoming, Who’s Gonna Catch? And Other Bears Bullets