Expect Bears-Packers II to decide at least one playoff spot


Expect Bears-Packers II to decide at least one playoff spot

The NFL schedule should be coming out before too long, so exact dates of particular matchups arent officially available yet. But one matters game is already pretty well established.

Every year except for 2009 since Lovie Smith arrived, the Bears and Green Bay Packers have played their second meeting as game 15 or 16 of their schedules. Given that a stated goal with bringing in Phil Emery as general manager was overtaking the Packers, that game in 2012 looms as nothing less than a potential referendum on Emerys first year of stewardship.

Were Brandon Marshall and presumed draft hits enough? Thats what Bears-Packers II will reveal.

Consider: In 2005 the Bears won at Green Bay in game 15 and clinched a home game in the divisional round (not that it ultimately mattered, but thats another story).

The 2006 season ended with a Bears loss in a throwaway game. The 2007 game-15 win wasnt enough to get the Bears into the playoffs; the next year it should have been enough but for a game-16 loss to Houston that undid whatever good the OT win had accomplished.

The Packers used their game-16 win in 2010 to punch their playoff ticket and went on to win the Super Bowl. Last year the game-15 loss to the Packers was the Bears fourth loss to Green Bay in one calendar year and probably did as much to end Jerry Angelos Chicago tenure as anything.

It also assured the Bears no better than an 8-8 finish in what turned out to be a year in which a team scraping into the playoffs at 9-7 would win the Super Bowl.

Eliot Harrison over at rates Bears-Packers II No. 5 among his 12 games to watch in 2012. Considering that some of his higher-rateds are kitchy one-year novelty ones like Denver-New England because of Peyton Manning, or New England-Baltimore because of last years playoff field-goal gaffe, Bears-Packers II stands as one that points to far more significance than most.

Bears logo ranked in bottom five of NFL in recent fan poll

USA Today

Bears logo ranked in bottom five of NFL in recent fan poll

The Chicago Bears logo has withstood the test of time. In a sports era full of uniform changes, the Bears have maintained the classic orange 'C' for most of their nearly 100 years in Chicago.

Unfortunately, tradition doesn't equate to popularity.

Chicago's logo ranked 28th in the NFL, according to a recent poll of nearly 1,500 football fans. Only the Redskins (29), Bengals (30), Jets (31) and Browns (32) were worse.

I’m not sure how I feel about the underbite on the “C.” I can see how this would be a polarizing feature of this logo. I wish to an extent that it met up more evenly. I think they could have had the bottom meet up in a more even fashion and still maintained the sharpness, of the “C,” which I like. I don’t mind the point [ON THE BACK SIDE OF THE “C”], without the point it would be super boring. The point actually does add something from a design standpoint that makes it stand out.

Bears fans will take exception with the results. Wins have been hard to come by in recent seasons, but there's still something special about seeing the familiar navy and orange on Sundays in the fall. The 'C' is arguably the biggest part of that. Sure, it's not a complex design overflowing with colors, but it represents a long and storied history. 

It's interesting that each of the bottom five teams have struggled to string together winning seasons. On the flipside, teams like the Saints, Falcons, Rams, Vikings and Eagles rank in the top six. Maybe it's recency bias.

In the NFC North, the Lions rank No. 2 (which is a shocker) and the Packers are No. 20. 

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Former first-round pick Kevin White hasn't caught a break -- or a touchdown -- through the first three years of his career. He has more season-ending injuries than 100-yard games and after an offseason focused on upgrades at wide receiver, White's future in Chicago beyond 2018 is very much in doubt.

Ryan Pace declined the fifth-year option in White's rookie contract, making this a prove-it year for the pass-catcher who once resembled a blend of Larry Fitzgerald and Dez Bryant during his time at West Virginia.

He's getting a fresh start by new coach Matt Nagy.

"He is healthy and he's really doing well," Nagy told Danny Kanell and Steve Torre Friday on SiriusXM's Dog Days Sports. "We're trying to keep him at one position right now so he can focus in on that."

White can't take all the blame for his 21 catches, 193 yards and zero scores through 48 possible games. He's only suited up for five. Whether it's bad luck or bad bone density, White hasn't had a legitimate chance to prove, on the field, that he belongs.

Nagy's looking forward, not backward, when it comes to 2015's seventh pick overall.

"That's gone, that's in the past," Nagy said of White's first three years. "This kid has a new future with us."

White won't be handed a job, however.

"He's gotta work for it, he's gotta put in the time and effort to do it," Nagy said. "But he will do that, he's been doing it. He's a great weapon, he's worked really hard. He has great size, good speed. We just want him to play football and not worry about anything else."