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Here's BFO user IE's breakdown of the upcoming Bears vs Lions game:

I'm going to the game Sunday - really looking forward to it!

Some Lions fans are hanging their hats on Reggie Bush being 100% for this game. But they need to realize that 100% of Reggie Bush is actually a player that is healthy and producing well only about 50-60% of the time. That's always been the problem with him - he's hit & miss, and can't be counted on to be a feature guy. Detroit does need Reggie to actually be healthy and show up big in the stats this week, or they're in trouble. Bell is an impressive player - gotta love a guy from Wayne State getting this opportunity & making the most of it. But his lack of top-end speed should keep him controllable and relatively harmless, against the Bear LBs and DBs.

Megatron vs Peanut - that's the Bears' biggest concern. Peanut is dinged, but he will leave it all on the field. He's not the kind of player that misses games. He plays hurt - and plays well hurt... especially against Megatron. Calvin will have some big plays - but that won't be enough alone. Bush, Bell, Broyles, Scheffler and Fauria have been producing this year - but they are going to have to show up & contribute heavily again this weekend just to keep up with the Bear offense. I think they will put up a lot of points - the Lions have a legit offense.

I expect Trestman to have some special stuff ready for the Lions & their formidable DLine. I'm expecting a lot of misdirection, creative blocking, and the Bear skill players to give Detroit LBs and DBs fits. I think both offenses will get their scores, and it will almost certainly come down to the defenses and turnovers to determine the outcome. In this case, the better, smarter and more opportunistic defensive unit wins - in spite of two high-powered offenses.

The matchup to watch is going to be the Bear interior Oline against Suh and Fairley. For the first time since ... well, forever... Bear fans are actually looking forward to watching this happen, vs having concerns. I personally hope Suh even appears to be trying to cheapshot Cutler... I'm looking forward to Suh's reaction, as Long WILL come after him like the enforcer he is. Long story short, it appears the Bear interior Oline is up to the task of protecting Cutler well.

My three keys to the game are:

1. The Bear OTs, RBs and TEs keeping the Lion DEs and LBs off of Cutler for just "three Mississippi" ... Smokin' Jay has been getting rid of the ball quickly and protecting it well. If the Lions can't get outside pressure... they're in serious trouble.
2. How well the Lion Oline handles defensive pressure from the Bears (a 3-0 team) vs the highly questionable opponents the Lions have faced so far. The Lions haven't faced a Bengals Dline or a Dick LeBeau D. So let's see.
3. The Bear LBs and DBs vs the Lions LBs and DBs. Both teams have formidable offensive weapons (too bad about Nate - he's one of my all-time favorite FF players, actually). But the real question is, whose 2nd and 3rd levels are better equipped to keep the damage to the minimum?

Beloved Offensive Bears: 41
Schwartz-Handicapped Lions: 31
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Final score, Bears 24 Bengals 21.

A writeup will come later but a quick comment. Had the Bengals not committed so many mental mistakes, this game would have come down to the wire and I'm not sure the Bears would have come out on top. While our run defense only allowed a few big runs, our secondary was nowhere to be seen. That needs to be addressed if we want to continue to win.
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IE's breakdown of the upcoming Bengals game:

Has Andy Dalton really proved he is anything close to the same caliber NFL QB as Jay Cutler? As far as I'm concerned, anyone who looks at him and sees a better QB ... really must be smoking something good. Put Dalton on a team with no Oline, brick-handed TEs and virtually no WR for 3-4 years, and see if he makes it out alive. Sure, Dalton was sacked more than Cutler last year - but that's not because of a bad Oline - it is because he's immobile... something that will never really change. On the other hand Cutler's mobility and ability to extend a play with a dramatically improved Bear Oline in an actual NFL offense ... that becomes an asset for a change, instead of an escape.

In reality, both teams are very thin on WR experience/depth beyond the #1 WR. But ... any team that boasts Dane Sanzenbacher on their WR depth chart really needs to take a good hard look into the mirror. Contrast that with the team that cut Sanz' - his old team the Bears, who now have literally an embarrassment of young riches at WR (Jeffrey, Wilson, Anderson)... to the point where the Bears are openly believing they feel they don't need veteran Earl Bennett - a player one could easily argue is better than any Bengal WR outside of Green. Stick that in your Dalton pipe, and smoke it.

Don't want to leave it out, in a discussion of the offense - but there isn't much to say about the RB position. It will speak for itself this year for the Bears. After being virtually ignored by the Bears' 2012 OC ... Matt Forte should put up Marshall Faulk-class numbers this year under Trestman ... like 2000+ yards from scrimmage.

Sure... defensively,the Ben Gals should be recognized as having a good unit. But from the way the national and even local media have been talking about it, you'd think the Bears have a virtually bare cupboard & must be shaking in their boots, preparing to face the Steel Curtain, the Purple People Eaters, or the 85 Bears. Guess what? They're not. Beyond maybe Atkins, is there Bengal DLineman the Bears would be excited about swapping for a Bear at the same position? I can't see it. Peppers or Wooton for Dunlap or Johnson?! Get serious. Paea for Pepu? They're virtually interchangeable. So... Melton for Atkins...? Maybe, but why would anyone swap one young probowl DT with tons of upside like Melton for another the same age?

Same with the LBs ... There is no obvious gap or deficiency between the Bear LBs and the Ben Gals. Burfict is good - but DJ Williams has once again shown his peak speed in camp ... to the point where Lance Briggs is literally salivating over having some speed next to him at Mike, after the past few years of #54 unfortunately slowing. That's Lance Briggs - arguably one of the best LBs in the league, and at his peak. Compare that to James Harrison, who is playing out of his historic position, and should be raising uncertainty more than premature praise. Is he better at SLB than Anderson right now? Maybe. Maybe not - nobody knows right now. Would the Bears trade their LB depth for the Bengals? I doubt it.

In the defensive backfield, both units have seasoned vets and some good, probowl-level talent at corner, and some young talent at safety. People could probably argue all day about which unit is better... but with the exception of Peanut Tillman it isn't clear whether the fans could tell if the DBs switched teams/unis at halftime.

Speaking of guys playing out of position ... look for Shea McClellin to have a bigger impact than Harrison tomorrow, on a part-time basis. My point isn't that the Bengals don't have a good defense - they do. But SO DO THE BEARS. At least as good.

Lastly ... I get it - football is about matchups ... and people are questioning whether the Bear rookies on the Oline can handle the Bengal from 4 or 7. I'll say this - watch some more tape of Kyle Long in the preseason. One of the things I'm looking forward to MOST is seeing Long face guys like Suh and Atkins. This is not wishful thinking - this kid has stood out as a man amongst men out there. Will there be a few hiccups and blown protections? Sure. But that's the case with almost every good Olineman playing against a good D. Will there be more cases of great blocking, big plays and physical domination by Long? I'm betting yes. "Bad-ass mofo, country-strong" yes.
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Julius Peppers has renegotiated his contract per the Tribune. The Bears converted $3 million of his base salary into a signing bonus, freeing up $2 million in this years cap.

Makes you wonder what the Bears have planned for this money since this move will have negative financial repercussions next year. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.
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After yet another Greenbay loss, BFO user Hiphopopotamus did an interesting comparison of Rogers vs Cutler. Feel free to use these stats to rub  in the face of any cheeseheads you know:

Heard an interesting stat on the radio today about Aaron Rogers that made me go and do a little research.

In games decided by 4 points or fewer - Aaron Rogers is 5 wins - 17 losses as a starter.

So I looked up Jays record in the same scenario - 19 wins - 7 losses.

Aaron Rogers has 5 4th quarter comebacks in his career.

Jay Cutler has 13 4th quarter comebacks.

Now obviously the first thought is that Jay puts his team in a position to need to come back in the 4th quarter a hell of a lot more than Aaron Rogers does. Additionally the Packers defense gives up more than its fair share of 4th quarter leads.

So I went and looked at each of the 22 games where Rogers was the QB and the game was decided by 4 points or fewer. In those 17 games they lost, the defense allowed a GWD or first score in OT in 8 of them. In those same 17 losses Rogers threw an INT on the last drive in 3 of them. The team turned it over on downs or ran out of time on the last drive in 4 of them.

I went and looked at other QB's records in 4 point games:

Aaron Rogers: 5-17
Jay Cutler: 19-7
Tom Brady: 29-12
Peyton Manning: 40-22
Drew Brees: 21-23
Eli Manning: 17-15
Joe Flacco: 11-12
Ben RTHLSBRGR: 25-14

I found it interesting that despite Rogers greatness (and he is great without a doubt or question) he has such a poor record in close games - especially when compared to his contemporaries (and Jay Cutler).


4th Quarter Comebacks:

Aaron Rogers: 5
Jay Cutler: 13
Tom Brady: 27
Peyton Manning: 38
Drew Brees: 21
Eli Manning: 24
Joe Flacco: 10
Ben RTHLSBRGR: 22

Again, Rogers numbers seem out of place when compared to his contemporaries (and Jay Cutler).
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Leave it to the Guardian, a UK paper, to come up with this informative breakdown of NFL team salaries by position. 
The National Football League has a salary cap, an upper limit on what teams can spend on their players, of $123m. But where the teams choose to spend that money is entirely up to them. Some, like the Eagles, overload their offense, while others invest heavily in defense. These figures are based on individual 'cap hit' numbers which include base salary and bonuses for the 2013-14 season. Read more about our methodology | See 2012 salaries
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Emery gave a speech yesterday in which he gave further details on his philosophy when it comes to building the Bears roster. Here's a link to the transcript of it, courtesy of Bears Fans Online. See below for an excerpt. Any mistakes in grammar or spelling are our own.

"The last thing I want to share with you is areas I feel we need to improve in. As I worked through this roster and looked at these numbers and did my own analytics on it, I was curious to, in terms of retention of original players on the roster, not only for our team, but for teams in our division. I went through it and what I saw is that 29 out of the 53 players we have, roughly 55%, are original Bears. They were on this team originally, that was their original team. The Greenbay Packers are 43 of 53 and the Minnesota Vikings are 39 of 53, and the Detroit Lions are 27 of 53. Now, I firmly believe that the best way to build a team is your own original talent, your draft picks, your college free agents. . ."
I did a quick transcript of the speech in case anyone wants it. Any mistakes are my own. I'm going to cover three points and give you a little bonus one after that, just some thoughts on areas that we need to improve upon, and then I'll open it up to questions.
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Have them in circles
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