January 19, 2007

the saints are coming

The NFC Championship Game. I've been waiting my whole life to see the Bears in the Super Bowl, and all that stands between the team and that goal is one game.

Now technically I've seen the Bears in a Super Bowl before. The '85 Bears in the 1986 Super Bowl. There are pictures of me to prove it. I've heard so much about that team my whole life and seen so much footage (and played so many games of Madden '94 using the team) that I feel as though I actually remember it. But I don't. I was just shy of being two years old.

It's almost unfathomable for me to think about the Super Bowl as a game where the outcome matters to me. Sure, every year I pick a team to cheer for, usually whoever the NFC team is that year. But the team I pick almost always loses. But if the Bears win just one more game, I'll actually have something to cheer for. I'll actually have a stake in the outcome of the game. And I'll walk away with memories of the actual game, not just which commercials were the funniest, or whose boob popped out at halftime.

But they still have to win one more game. And if you listen to the national media, you'd think that will be impossible.

It's not impossible though. Remember, the Bears went 13-3 this year and the Saints were 10-6. They lost two games to the Carolina Panthers. And that high-powered offense that seems to be scaring everyone so much could only put up 10 points against the terrible Washington Redskins defense.

I'll admit, the offense is a little scary. Drew Brees was so good this season that he caused me to bench Peyton Manning on my fantasy team for weeks at a time. But the fear of the running game seems a little unwarranted. Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush are good backs, but Chicago's defense ranks sixth in the NFL against the run. They gave up an average of 4 yards per carry and just under 100 yards per game. The Saints' rushing offense ranks 19th in the league, averaging 3.7 yards per carry and about 110 yards per game. That seems like a pretty good match up to me.

The even better match up is probably the Bears' rushing offense against the Saints' run defense. While the Bears run game only ranks 15th in the league, averaging 3.8 yards per carry and just under 120 yards per game, the Saint's run defense is 23rd against the run. If Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson have good games, that will give the Bears a definite edge.

A lot of people seem to be afraid of the Saints. Many don't seem to think the Bears have a chance. They say Destiny is on the side of the team from New Orleans, or whatever. But when the teams take the field Sunday, I like Chicago's chances.

"Bear down, Chicago Bears"

Bear down, Chicago Bears! Make every play clear the way to victory!
Bear down, Chicago Bears! Put up a fight with a might so fearlessly!
We'll never forget the way you thrilled the nation with your T formation.
Bear down, Chicago Bears, and let them know why you're wearing the crown
You're the pride and joy of Illinois. Chicago Bears, bear down!

Posted by dpetrella at January 19, 2007 12:34 PM | TrackBack

my mom has a button with ditka's face on it from '85 that plays that song. and it still works, which is really amazing.

Posted by: jen at January 19, 2007 8:18 PM
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