Thursday, September 14, 2006

Here's Mike Tanier in FO's Rundown on the Bears-Lions:

"The Lions defense may be improving, but their offense is still a sputtering mess. That makes them the Lite Bears. Lovie Smith's team kept the Packers from reaching the red zone — heck, they kept them from reaching the Bears' 35-yard line — but their offensive highlight reel consisted of one Rex Grossman-to-Bernard Berrian bomb. Of course, last year they didn't even have an offensive highlight reel, so Lovie is making progress.

The Bears will win this week, but steer clear of that touchdown-plus spread. As for the 32 point over/under, here's food for thought: the over/under for Bears games has been 33 or less fewer points 13 times in the last five years. The game has gone under ten times. And that's the naked truth."

I too wouldn't really be surprised if the game ends with a low score. Detroit's defense looks to present a bit stronger of an obstacle than Green Bay's. But to say that the Bears only highlight was the Grossman-to-Berrian bomb kind of ignores the rest of the game. Grossman looked very good the whole game, and his interception only happened because he was getting hit while he threw it; it was actually a good decision. And Tanier's final paragraph looking at Bears games over the past five years and their chances of beating the over/under: it's hard to really say how relevant any offensive stats from previous years are to the Bears offense this year. Last year, Orton was the quarterback for most of the season. When Grossman came back at half-time of the Atlanta game (a game the Bears weren't really in any danger of losing anyway since Atlanta's offense was getting pounded by both the Bears defense and the weather), the offense visibly improved. The O scored 24 points the next week against Green Bay, and then actually managed 21 points against a good Carolina defense. The year before, the offense was Terry Shea/Quinn/Crenzel/Hutchinson... it shouldn't have even counted as an offense. Before that, Jauron's last year, well, it was John Shoop running the offense... Anyway, I just can't see taking stats from any of the previous five years of Bears offense and applying it to the current offense in much of a meaningful way. That said, 32 points total in this game? Probably not... Detroit might be able to put up a couple of field goals only because their D might get the Grossman and co. off the field more quickly and consequently leading to defensive fatigue. I think the Bears O won't be as surprised as Seattle was by how hard Detroit'll play, and Lovie probably has a better idea of what both Marinelli and Martz will be up to. But an over/under of 22 points might be a little better...

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