With the news that the Bears are apparently only ever going to play on Sunday nights, it would seem that the hype has ARRIVED.
It'll be a battle for first place at Soldier Field on Sunday night, and we'll surely have way more about that this weekend. (Like, *way* more. Seriously. There's so much. Almost too much.)
For now, let's get into some fan questions. To the tweets!
For all the talk about the Bears' lack of a running game, it's not for lack of trying. Only 5 teams run the ball more than the Bears, who have gone on the ground 45 percent of the time. Honestly, with the way that the Bears' offense has been humming along over the last 6 games or so, I can't imagine there's much change at all. They're clearly going to keep giving Cohen and Howard chances, but between how well the offense is moving right now and how often they're trying to get the RBs going, I'm not sure there's a whole lot more to be done. If anything, I think the Bears' might run the ball less than usual on Sunday - based on Football Outsider's DVOA, the Vikings have the 4th-best run defense in football. Compare that to their 10th-ranked passing defense, and you can imagine what type of gameplan Nagy and Co. might draw up. Speaking of matchups ...
Keith (Scottsdale, AZ) - What matchup do you consider the most favorable for the Bears offense on Sunday night?
I'm not sure there's a matchup that jumps off the page in the Bears' favor. The Vikings defense is marginally better against the run than against the pass, but it's really splitting hairs at that point. With that said, the Vikings' defense is tied for 5th in the NFL with 8 plays of 40+ yards against them, so maybe that's a window? It's about the only negatives stat you can find against Minnesota. So I'll say the Trubisky-Robinson deep ball might be the Bears' most favorable matchup.
Sabir (Minneapolis, MN) - What would a win Sunday mean for the bears in terms of an outlook for the rest of the season?
It would put them in the driver's seat, for sure. They'll still have to play all 3 NFC North teams again, but being in 1st place with a 7-3 record after Week 11 is never a bad spot. With that said, it just feels like the NFC North is going to be decided by the Bears-Vikings game in Minnesota on the final week of the season.
Matty (Champaign, IL) - Kevin White looked like he was going to maybe be a contributing member of the Bears. What changed that made the Bears essentially end his time with the team?
I think the Kevin White issue is more simple than a lot of people are making it out to be. First and foremost: unfortunately, whether it was injury-based or not, White just hasn't developed into a NFL-caliber wide reciever. It happens. I know he had a slightly encouraging preseason, and that he's been a good blocking WR for them, but a good preason and being able to block isn't going to get you on to many NFL rosters. That's especially true -- and here's my second point -- with how deep the Bears' WR group is. Between Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, and Trey Burton, there just aren't enough passes to go around.
The official guess here is that Shaheen makes his 2018 season debut on Sunday night. Between all the murmurs that Shaheen's ready to go and Sims ongoing issues with a concussion, it seems like a natural fit to have Shaheen take Sims spot. If not this week, though, then soon after. He's almost ready. The more interesting question, in my opinion, is how involved in the offense he'll be.
It's a great question, Lance. A great question. Why does anyone bother about anything, really?