Wk11 matchup from a more neutral stance.
Week 11 matchup: Chicago Bears at Miami Dolphins
A look at Week 11's Thursday game between the visiting Chicago Bears and the Miami Dolphins. Game time is 8:20 p.m. ET from Miami:
Three story lines
1. Short turnaround for new Dolphins starting QB. With four days separating one game from another, coaches must prepare Tyler Thigpen for his first start since 2008 when he played for the Kansas City Chiefs. Thigpen, a mobile quarterback who doesn't mind throwing on the run, is expected to replace Chad Henne in the wake of the injury-riddled Sunday that knocked out Henne for the short term and Chad Pennington for the long term.
2. Quick time for injury adjustments. Beyond the quarterback injuries, the Dolphins are also banged up in other places, including along the offensive line. Left tackle Jake Long dislocated a shoulder and got labrum damage in Sunday's game, and center Joe Berger missed much of the week's practice with his injury. Although it's possible both can play, it might be tough for each to perform the whole game. That could make Thigpen's day even tougher.
3. Time for Chicago to prove it. The Bears have a nice, respectable record after the season's first half, but they've yet to beat enough decent teams to earn the type of street cred that will gain them more attention as the season sorts itself out. Chicago has the win against Green Bay, which was a good one. But defeating Detroit, Dallas, Buffalo, Carolina and Minnesota isn't quite the gauntlet that's going to strike fear in opponents. A win against the Dolphins, even though they aren't exactly elite, would help in this regard.
Three key players for the Bears
1. LB Pisa Tinoisamoa: If the Dolphins decide to use more of the Wildcat offense to help Thigpen, the Bears won't be in as much nickel as they normally play. They'll keep their strong-side linebacker in, which is a positive since Tinoisamoa has been huge the Bears' ascent to becoming the No. 2 team against the run. Tinoisamoa has 41 tackles, which isn't bad considering he is usually off the field in any passing situation. He was disruptive when the Bear held Vikings running back Adrian Peterson to a season-low 51 yards, and now he'll have the same chance to stop Miami's tandem of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams.
2. QB Jay Cutler: It's time for Jay Cutler to prove something during a primetime game -- or the growing criticism of him will increase. Cutler was terrible in a Thursday night loss to the 49ers last season with five interceptions. That game more or less took the Bears out of the playoff chase. He also struggled against Green Bay despite a win that was largely the result of the Bears' defense. And last week, even during an otherwise solid performance, he struggled by throwing an interception in the end zone from the 8-yard line.
3. RB Matt Forte: After he started to give the offense balance last week, Forte must play just as well to make sure offensive coordinator Mike Martz doesn't have more reason to trash the running game and resort to his usual pass-oriented scheme. The running attack hasn't produced much, but 130 yards last week allowed the Bears to kill off the fourth quarter without the threat of any unexpected issues.
Three key players for the Dolphins
1. QB Tyler Thigpen: Known for mobility during his 11 starts with the Chiefs, Thigpen says he now believes his development has turned him into more of a pass-first guy. He'd better be right, because the Bears' defensive front will make him pay if he leaves the pocket too often. And considering Thigpen is the only healthy option on the roster with any experience in this system, the Dolphins can't really afford to let him take a brutal, game-ending hit.
2. TE Anthony Fasano: During a career-best Week 10 performance that included 107 receiving yards, Fasano looked comfortable making plays across the middle of the field. As it turns out, Thigpen is also comfortable using him. After Sunday's game, when he sealed an 85-yard drive with a short bullet to Fasano for a touchdown, Thigpen said that's one play he told coaches he likes to use in the red zone. Clearly, Thigpen likes to use his tight ends. That should play in Fasano's favor on Thursday.
3. CB Vontae Davis: It would be a major stretch to say Davis is no longer the player he seemed to be at the start of the season, but he isn't playing with the same consistent shut-down ability in the past few games. Most notably against the Titans, Davis gave up a bad play on a 31-yard pass interference penalty that seemed far from his performance to start the season. Davis will be fine. But it will be important Thursday for him to quickly get back on track, turning himself back into the future Pro Bowl player that he showed flashes of being for most of the season.
Thigpen is a good quarterback and is developing nicely under quarterbacks coach David Lee. But Thursday's game will be an incredibly tough stage to prove how far he's come. Thigpen is playing behind a banged-up line, and he only has a few days to prepare for his first start since 2008.
Considering the Dolphins also averaged 2.9 yards per carry in Week 10's victory over the Titans, it's hard to imagine the line producing much more against one of the NFL's best run-stopping units.
In other words, the Dolphins' offense has its back against the wall. Unless Thigpen turns in a truly impressive performance, the Bears could will up with the win.
Prediction: Bears 24, Dolphins 17
-- Sporting News correspondent Jeff Darlington
Read more: http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/feed...#ixzz15Yr0kf00
Yeah, the Bears just need to protect the football and I think they'll be fine. Their D and ST should put them in position to score enough to win this fucker.
I believe Pisa is inactive for that game
SN says this game will help the street cred with a Bears win. Yeah. Right. More like the following week they will say the Bears beat a bad team with alot of key injuries. Credit will only come when they take down one of the medias darling teams, like Philly, or NE.
Debate is one thing. Losing love for your country is another.
So says the White Boy....
Bad Spellers Untie!!!
High Fives / Like - 0 BEAR DOWN!, 0 Dislikes
That's what happens when only a couple wins comes against winning teams though Irish. That being said, it did help their cred against the Vikes, b/c people felt like the Vikes were on the verge of turning it off. Same w/the Fins, if we go into their house on a short week, and take care of business it will help. But you are right, we won't get the credit we think they deserve until we beat the Jets, NE or Philly.
Last edited by Riczaj01; 11-18-2010 at 01:26 PM.
Cutler needs a good primetime game under his belt.
Winston Churchill: "Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak."
"If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain."
High Fives / Like - 0 BEAR DOWN!, 0 Dislikes