Cubs

NFL Power Rankings - Week 10: 'Muscle Hamster' leading Bucs

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NFL Power Rankings - Week 10: 'Muscle Hamster' leading Bucs

Every Tuesday throughout the regular season, we'll beranking all 32 NFL teams.

Take a look and offer up yourthoughts in the comment box below or to us on Twitter @BearsTalkCSN.

Previousrankings: Week1 Week2 Week3 Week4 Week5 Week6 Week7 Week8 Week9

SK JFComments 1 SK: Another less-than impressivevictory, but until someone beats them, ATL sits at No. 1.
JF: Still have problems stopping the run, but didn't matter vs. Cowboys. 2 SK: Possible Super Bowl preview onSNF?
JF: Still clearly the top team in the AFC.
3 SK: The defense is playing at a levelthat nobody in Chicago has seen since 1985.
JF: Most impressive win of the season is followed by toughest game vs. Texans.
4 SK: Despite string of injuries, AaronRodgers and Co. continue to get the job done.
JF: Off last week now back in action at home against St. Louis.
5 SK: Well restedand now face a tough divisional foe in the Rams.
JF: Continue to dominate their division. Can't afford to look past Raiders.
6 SK: Manning is playing at an MVPlevel, can't avoid a letdown in Carolina.
JF: Rodgers is discount double checking at a staggering rate the last few weeks.
7 SK:Should have no problem against a Bills team in a downward spiral.
JF: Did enough on offense and shut down Manning on defense to top Giants.
8 SK: It's about time theydecided Ray Rice is their best offense.
JF: Manning looked terrible in loss to Steelers.
9 SK:Arguably the most impressive victory in Week 9; ground game has beenlethal.
JF: Come back from BYE week for home matchup with Buffalo.
10 SK: Don't know which Giants team willshow up each week.
JF: The other Manning (Peyton) continues to shine for 5-3 Broncos.
11 SK: If ChuckStrong speech didn't giveyou chills, you don't have a soul.
JF:When Wilson is on and the defense is locked in, the Seahawks are a good team.
12 SK:I can't say enough good things about Russell Wilson, very underrated.
JF: Still can't believe the Colts are 5-3 heading into Week 10.
13 SK:Beat up on the lowly Jaguars. Run game was clicking Sunday.
JF: Defense was impressive with win over Chiefs. Are the Bolts back on track?
14 SK:After hot start, Ponder has been brutal. A plus is how healthy"All Day" looks.
JF: Without Harvin the Vikings will have a tough task vs. Detroit.
15 SK:Philbin for Coach of the Year?
JF:Huge opportunity for Lions vs. Minnesota in Week 10.
16 SK:Move over RG3, you've got competition for ROY in Dougie"Fresh" Martin.
JF: Need to win at home vs. Titans to stay in the playoff picture.
17 SK:Defense poured it on in a much-need victory over the Chiefs.
JF: Can't fault them for loss to Packers. Need to get healthy during BYE week.
18 SK:Look out NFC, the Saints may be back in the playoff hunt.
JF: Rookie RB Martin gives Bucs an added punch. Face fellow 4-4 Chargers.
19 SK: Mike Shanahan seems to havealready given up on the season.
JF:Can get the season back on track with home win over Giants.
20 SK:Sunday's battle in Philly could cost the losing coach his job.
JF: Brees has Saints believing in an even longer winning streak.
21 SK:Bye couldn't come at a better time for a team in the midst of afive-game losing streak.
JF: Continue to turn the ball over and can't give Vick any time.
22 SK:Major problems in Philadelphia. Time for a rebuild on both sides ofthe ball?
JF: Will they ever find a way to win again?
23 SK: Playoffs?!? Playoffs?!? Bengalscan't even win a game.
JF: See previous comment above.
24 SK:I know DMC got hurt, but why on earth is Palmer throwing the ball 61times???
JF: After getting embarrassed by Pats in London, need upset vs. 49ers following BYE.
25 SK:Amendola's return to the offense should provide spark.
JF: Looking better the last few weeks. Still have a big hole to dig out of.
26 SK:A loss to Seattle and they can kiss their playoff chances goodbye.
JF: Would have been 4-4 if they could have stopped one man (Martin) in loss to Bucs.
27 SK:Most lopsided loss of All-Time at LP Field in Nashville.
JF: Must win at extremely hostile environment in Seattle. You never know.
28
SK:Where was that Panthers defense allseason?
JF: Are better than their record indicates. But it's a win-now league.
29 SK:Almost pulled out a win over the first place Ravens.
JF:Not getting blown out, but not winning either.
30 SK:This team has no identity...
JF:Looked about as bad as any team could look vs. Bears.
31 SK:On the bright side, Justin Blackmon caught his first NFL touchdownpass.
JF: Can't run the ball on offense and unable to stop the run on defense.
32 SK:Hey Scott Pioli, your days of being an NFL GM may be over soon.
JF: Just awful.

What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

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USA TODAY

What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

Families gather and people talk about things they are thankful for on Thanksgiving, but what are Chicago sports fans happy for now?

Raised expectations on the North Side

Got to be thankful that a “disappointing” season is winning the division and losing in the NLCS. The expectations have skyrocketed, and that’s thanks to a ridiculous nucleus of bats and a steady front office. Not many clubs can say that. Also, though, it’s important to be appreciative of the Wrigley bar stretch. They may charge $8 for a Miller Lite, but it’s always a damn good party.

Javy tags, too. Don't forget Javy tags.

Rebuild sparking hope in White Sox fans

Where to begin? Obviously, be thankful for the plethora of young talent that will soon take over the South Side. Be thankful for Avi Time (while you still can). Be thankful that taking your friends or family to a game won’t cause you to take out a second mortgage. Be thankful for the 2020 World Series and, of course, 2020 MVP Eloy Jimenez. But most importantly, be thankful that Rick Hahn’s phone stays buzzing.

Eddie O back in the booth for the Blackhawks

The Blackhawks are having a rough start to the season, but at least Eddie Olczyk is back in the booth. The longtime Blackhawks broadcaster returned to the booth on Oct. 18 after missing time while undergoing chemotherapy treatments for colon cancer.

With some of the key names from the Blackhawks’ title runs either leaving or being unable to play this season (in the case of Marian Hossa), Blackhawks fans are probably thankful to see a familiar face and hear a familiar voice during games.

Lauri Markkanen leading the Bulls rebuild

OK, there’s not much to be thankful for about the current Bulls team. At 3-13, the Bulls are tied for the fewest wins in the NBA (maybe in the long-term that’s something to be thankful for as well). However, Zach LaVine’s pending debut after his eventual return from injury should help create some excitement.

The thing Bulls fans really should be thankful for this year is the play of rookie Lauri Markkanen. The 20-year-old leads the team in scoring (14.6 points per game) and rebounds (8.3 per game) while shooting at a high percentage (34.2 percent on threes and 50.6 percent on twos). It’s only the beginning of the Bulls’ rebuild, but Markkanen is a good start.

Mitchapalooza

If a few things broke the Bears’ way, Chicagoans could have been grateful that the team was finally out of the cellar. Instead, we’ll settle for the fact that there seems to be some building blocks already in place. Mitchell Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Leonard Floyd and Akiem Hicks seem to fit that category. Also, some may be thankful that this is likely John Fox’s last season at the helm.

Fire ending a playoff drought

After finishing dead last in MLS in 2015 and 2016, the Fire were one of the most improved teams in the league in 2017. After posting the third best record in the league, the Fire made a first playoff appearance since 2012.

The playoff run didn’t last long with the Fire losing a play-in game at home, but the arrival of Bastian Schweinsteiger and the league’s leading goal-scorer, Nemanja Nikolic, helped fill the stadium with six sellouts and gave Fire fans something to cheer for.

With Leonard Floyd going on injured reserve, will the Bears have a pressing need at outside linebacker in 2018?

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USA TODAY

With Leonard Floyd going on injured reserve, will the Bears have a pressing need at outside linebacker in 2018?

The Bears placed Leonard Floyd on injured reserve Thursday morning, ending the second-year outside linebacker’s season following a knee injury suffered Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Floyd suffered an MCL and PCL injury and will have surgery in the next week, coach John Fox said, and the Bears do not have a timetable for his recovery yet. But that Floyd didn't suffer damage to his ACL is potentially good news for Floyd's recovery timetable. 

Still, with Floyd on injured reserve and out for the season, the Bears’ current outside linebacker depth chart consists of two veterans (Pernell McPhee and Sam Acho) and two practice squad signees (Isaiah Irving and Howard Jones). These final six games of the 2017 season could serve as auditions for all four players for roles on the 2018 Bears. 

If every team needs at least three good pass rushers, the Bears can count on Akiem Hicks and Floyd for 2018, provided Floyd comes back healthy. But who’s the third?

The Bears could save about $7.5 million in cap space if they release McPhee in 2018; if they were to cut ties with Willie Young, who’s on injured reserve right now as well, it would provide $4.5 million in cap relief. McPhee will be 29 in December, while Young will turn 33 next September. 

The Bears won’t necessarily need the cap relief next year, and could certainly decide to keep both players, who’ve shown they’re still productive when healthy. But even if both players are back, the Bears may need to add another outside linebacker via free agency of the draft — remember, the team could’ve began the season with Floyd, Young, McPhee, Acho and Lamarr Houston as their outside linebackers; an injury Houston suffered in the fourth preseason game ended his time in Chicago. 

Needs at wide receiver and cornerback are pressing, but outside linebacker may need to be in that same conversation. If the Bears have a top-10 pick for the fourth consecutive year, plus some cap space, they perhaps could have the ability to address all three needs in March and April. 

That may be looking a little too far into the future, though. The best-case for the Bears is McPhee finishes the season strong and Irving and/or Jones shows something in the opportunities they receive in these final six games (Jones, for what it’s worth, had five sacks as a rookie with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015). But the worst-case — and perhaps the most realistic — is that the Bears go into the offseason needing to fill at least one pass-rushing spot.