Bears

Predicting the winner of the 2016 NFC Championship game

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Predicting the winner of the 2016 NFC Championship game

Love the matchups: elite offense (Cardinals) vs. elite defense (Panthers), MVP (Cam Newton) and one of the NFL’s most balanced offenses (49.6 percent run) vs. a Carolina defense that ranked Top 10 in virtually every significant category.

[RELATED - Predicting the winner of the AFC Championship game]

Three tipping points:

1 - These are the two teams that led the NFL in takeaways: Carolina with 39, Arizona with 33. No other team had more than 30. The Panthers only gave the football away 19 times to the Cardinals’ 24, not a huge difference over a 16-game schedule, but games turn on takeaways and nobody does that better than Ron Rivera’s defense.

2 - The Panthers have rushed for 100 or more yards in 30 straight games and are 21-2 in the last 23 of those. Why that looms as significant is that the Cardinals’ three losses this season were the games in which they allowed their most rushing yardage: to St. Louis (164), Seattle (145) and Pittsburgh (141). And two of Arizona’s three losses were in among the three games in which the Cardinals failed to rush for more than 55 yards (Pittsburgh 55, Seattle 27).

3 - Neither quarterback has played before with a Super Bowl 60 minutes away. The notion of Newton tensing up is difficult to imagine, particularly at home. But if there was one surprise from Arizona’s survival win over Green Bay, it was Carson Palmer’s occasional accuracy issues, including two interceptions. That was in a truncated game plan, per Bruce Arians, and had the look of Palmer wobbling just a tad under pressure.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

That will be all the Panthers, Thomas Davis, Luke Kuechly and Josh Norman will need.

Pick: Panthers 28, Cardinals 24

Neat Tweets: The reaction from a not-so-neat loss in Miami

Neat Tweets: The reaction from a not-so-neat loss in Miami

The Bears dropped a heartbreaker yesterday, losing in OT to Brock Osweiler and the Dolphins. 

It wasn't a great look for the Bears, who were coming out of the bye and looking to establish themselves as one of the NFC's best. 

BearsTwitter, if you can believe it, wasn't pleased. The game featured a weird mix of existential dread and a humerous understanding that Brocktober is a mystical force that cannot fully be explained. 

Here were the most neat tweets from yesterday's loss: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 7 NFL Power Rankings: Outside the top, no clear picture yet

Week 7 NFL Power Rankings: Outside the top, no clear picture yet

Last night's 43-40 game between the Patriots and Chiefs said more about the NFL than it did either team playing in it. 

Through the first seven weeks, there are pretty clearly three very good NFL teams: the Rams, the Pats, and the Chiefs. 

After that? Who knows. The Chargers look strong, but have looked strong for years -- and have what to show for it? After a good start, the Jaguars have looked actively terrible. The Steelers are rounding into form and yet still find themselves in third place. All three of the NFC East's contenders are sitting at .500 or barely better. 

How'd your probably-mediocre team do in our Power Rankings this week? 

Wait no longer! You can find out right here.