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THE WINDY CITY WEEKLY: BEARS GO TO COLLEGE, BULLS LOSE NOAH

Posted By Kevin Scholla On Dec 19 2010 @ 3:31 am In Chicago | No Comments

Take the game film from the Patriots game and bury it deep in the snow.  The Bears were humbled by New England at Soldier Field last week, and while some say this may be a red flag as far as Chicago’s postseason legitimacy, I say it doesn’t mean much at all.  In fact, the New England rout may bode well for Lovie Smith and company as the season moves forward.

First let’s take into consideration who the Bears lost to.  The Pats have been great of late, picking apart opposing defenses with regularity and torching other top teams, most recently the Jets.  Also, New England has always been quite patriotic in the snow.  You can go all the way back to the plow game when the Patriots controversially downed Don Shula’s Dolphins 3-zip.  More recently we have the infamous tuck game victory over Oakland and plenty of other Belichick snowy success stories.

In 1985 the Bears quest for perfection was quashed in Miami on a Monday night, but Chicago went on to win Super Bowl XX.  In 2006, a meaningless Packers finale, in which the Bears underperformed and overdressed, donning the navy jerseys and navy pants (please don’t ever wear that combo again) was met with criticism by naysayers.  The Bears went on to erase Seattle and New Orleans and reach the title game.

Long story short, the Bears need to take the New England game and chalk it up to losing to the best team in football.  Chicago is still 9-4 and in control of their postseason destiny.  The Lions victory over Green Bay was the real story last week.  That result gives the Bears a chance to wrap up the NFC North Monday night.  A New England win over the Aaron Rodgers-less Pack coupled with a Chicago triumph over the Brett Favre-less Vikings would give the Bears the division crown for the first time since 2006.

The Bears and Vikings will play at the home of the Golden Gophers.  This, after the Metrodome proved what most of us book learnin’ folks already realized.  A roof made of glorified Hefty bags is probably not the best defense against Minneapolis snow.  The Giants got to take on Minnesota in Detroit nullifying home field advantage.  The Bears will have to deal with the home crowd and the expected brutal conditions.

If the Bears can focus this week and get a little help in Massachusetts they could do what not many people gave them a chance to do back in August.  Let’s hope they can wrap up the North and then play for seeding the rest of the way.  A loss to Minnesota would put the Bears playoff hopes in jeopardy.  Chicago ends the season with games at home against the Jets and at Lambeau.  No gimmies there, especially with New York and Green Bay possibly fighting for their playoff lives come game time.

Former Bears quarterback Rex Grossman will get the start under center today when his Redskins take on the Cowboys.  It’s about time Grossman gets another chance.  The last time he played a full season he took his team to the Super Bowl.  Everyone who has started instead of him since then (Orton, Cutler, Schaub, McNabb) has failed to make the playoffs.  I wish Rex luck and hope he has success in these final three games.  Perhaps next season he can land some place where he would be appreciated.  San Francisco and Arizona come to mind.  I believe either of those squads would’ve run away with the NFC West this season if they had tabbed Grossman.

Just when the Bulls were starting to really come together, the team has been hit with a setback.  Joakim Noah is on the shelf for 8-10 weeks, following successful surgery on his hand.  The Bulls muddled through the first portion of the season without Carlos Boozer.  With Boozer back, the team looked even better than expectations, beating the teams they were supposed to beat and notching some surprising victories like the one over the Lakers.  Now Chicago will have to rely heavily on Derrick Rose and Boozer until Noah returns.  Taj Gibson is a capable player and should be able to fill the void admirably.  It’s good that Noah is going to be full strength when he finally does return.  The team should still be firmly in first place once that happens.

The Bulls 7 game win streak was snapped last night.  The Clippers hung on for a one point win after Rose missed a free throw that would have sent the contest to overtime.  Rose’s brief Memphis free throw flashback gave Los Angeles coach Vinny Del Negro a little revenge against his old club.

The Chicago schedule looks favorable in the near future and barring any more bumps and bruises along the way,  the team should be able to distance itself a bit more from divisional foes even without Noah.

No Kane, No Hossa, no problem.  The Blackhawks got a much needed quality win over Detroit Friday night.  The 4-1 decision showed how good the Hawks can be even when they are not at full strength.  The team broke it’s three game skid with the dispatching of the Wings and Corey Crawford was super in goal snapping his personal three game  winless streak.

DePaul and  Loyola-Chicago hooked up for the 54th time Saturday but just the first time since 2003.  The Demons won to inch within a game of .500.  Meantime, UIC shocked Illinois.  Call it December madness.

Enough with the weird colored college football fields.  Eastern Washington’s red turf looked like the Kool-Aid guy exploded all over the stadium.  Boise State’s Smurf turf isn’t exactly pretty but at least it’s their thing.  Other than Boise, keep your fields green!

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