With their fourth loss in the rearview mirror, the Caleb Hanie-led Chicago Bears welcome the deceptively decent Kansas City Chiefs to Soldier Field. Oh yeah, and Kyle Orton might show up sometime today as well. Casual NFL fans may look at this game as an easy win, but it could be very, very ugly. My breakdown illustrates why.
(4-7) Kansas City Chiefs at
(7-4) Chicago Bears
We all saw how stinky Tyler Palko was on Sunday Night Football last week, putting forth a three-interception effort in an offensively challenged display. The Bears get a first-hand look today and are frothing at the maw at the prospect of all those turnovers. Julius Peppers will see plenty of left tackle young Branden Albert, who has been holding his own this season. However, the most significant match-up in this game is clear: Dwayne Bowe versus Charles Tillman. Tillman shut down Megatron in their latest meeting but was torched by Vincent Jackson with regularity. If Peanut can control Bowe (with some over-the-top help), then the Chief offense has little hope to put several scores on the board aside from rarely-used tailback Dexter McCluster. Palko just isn’t that good. Don’t be surprised if he struggles and we see Kyle Orton get in the game at some point. (Orton may even hand off to ex-Bear Thomas Jones at some point.)
Caleb Hanie gets his second start against a vastly underrated defense that made the Pittsburgh Steelers look pedestrian last week. Tamba Hali is an absolute beast on the defensive line as a 3-4 outside ‘backer or 4-3 end and isn’t getting nearly the publicity he should. Kansas City’s defense isn’t overly impressive, but it can shut down Hanie and this offense. Caleb will be much better this week, but he's still not Jay. Martz has to avoid the trap of throwing too often against KC, instead relying on Matt Forte to get points on the board. Forte’s production has trailed off in recent weeks so a return to glory is in order for today. Get on it Martz!The Odds:
Chicago is a nine home favorite.The Prediction:
That is too large a spread. Chicago will win, but no one’s getting over 20 points. 17-13 sounds about right to me.How many heart attacks will Joe suffer?
This should be another dull throb of pain, but at I’ll see a Hanie interception or two and I’ll get riled.
Message to the Bears:
So uh… don’t lose to Tyler Palko. Or Kyle Orton.
Get amped for the game!