It’s been an interesting run Bears fans.  So here we are, heading into Week 17, Bears vs Packers, in Chicago, playing for the NFC North Division crown.  If given this scenario back in August I think every Bears fan would have taken it in a heartbeat.  These are the games where stories are written that you tell your kids about some day.  What can beat playing our biggest rival for all the marbles?  You’ll have to take my word for it when I say that my greatest hope is that the Bears emerge triumphant and go on one of those Ravens-esque runs through the playoff and we’re still invested in football a month from now.  Hope is a good thing.

In reality I don’t think the immediate future is all that bright.  Aaron Rodgers making his return doesn’t bode well for any Packers opponent but that’s just icing on the cake at this point.  The Bears are a deeply flawed team.  Their defensive deficiencies are drastic and they’re not getting fixed any time soon.  I think the front office is coming to terms with the fact that they’ve whiffed on just about every defensive draft pick in the Phil Emery regime (if Isiah Frey is your biggest accomplishment then you’ve failed).  For as good as Alshon Jeffery, Kyle Long, & Jordan Mills appear to be shaping up to be, on the opposite side of the ball it’s been a travesty.  The irony is that two years in, Halas Hall appears to be in a polar opposite conundrum as the previous administration.

I place the blame at the feet of Mel Tucker.  I get that Mel came into a tough situation.  He inherited the legacy of Lovie Smith’s defense and tried to adapt his coaching philosophy to appease the veteran players.  Well if you are hired to lead men and you start off trying to cater to them by copying the guy who just left I’ve got news for you, you’re not exactly setup for success.  I do find it interesting how Trestman has maneuvered this well enough that he has escaped comparison to any of the positive aspects of his predecessor and it’s his coordinators – Tucker & Joe DeCamillis – who are on the receiving end of the fan’s ire.  With that said, Tucker has been pretty terrible at his job.  I really don’t care about the injuries, anyone taking the field on Sundays is getting paid and ready to play at a professional level to some degree.  What’s happening to the Bears, especially in the run game, goes further than just a lack of talent.  The pieces are just not in the right place and that’s all coaching.  If that happens for one game or two, I get it, but 16 weeks in a row?  There’s this little thing called “adjustments” that other coaches make which Mel might want to give a try.  By this point I wouldn’t fault him if he told all the players to start off doing headstands before each play, just try something.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  I get the sense that in the defensive film room on Mondays at Halas Hall there’s a lot of disbelief that these miscues keep happening.

While the defense has been painful, my bigger concern is the general lack of chutzpah of the team.  There have been numerous situations scenarios this fall where this team has had an opportunity to seize the proverbial day and they never did.  They lacked the intestinal fortitude to control their own destiny at several points in this crazy mixed-up ride that we call a season and that is the mark of a team that is not truly ready to win.  Let’s be honest, even if somehow they come out victorious on Sunday afternoon this team isn’t going anywhere from there. 

So you can see where my head is at here.  With Rodgers’ return, Eddie Lacy doing everything in his power to take the field (every running back in the league has the Bears game circled on their calendar this year), and I’m guessing Randall Cobb’s miraculous return after a 10 week hiatus, the Packers have just too much going for them.  The Pack was left for dead when Rodgers went down and yet they kept hanging around and hanging around.  They have alligator blood (in my best Malkovich voice).  That is the mark of a team that knows how to win.  They tied a game versus the Vikings which they were all set to lose and the Bears lost that same game as they were all set to win it.  That is the difference between these organizations and these quarterbacks. 

I’m sorry Bears fans but it’s not our year.  I want nothing more for that miracle playoff run to come together.  Remember the Colts were the worst run defense in the league back in 2006 when the Bears met them in the Super Bowl and they somehow put it all together once the playoffs began, but that chance of that happening twice in eight years, let alone my lifetime, it very unlikely.  It was a fun ride and I truly believe the organization is headed in the right direction, but this isn’t our year. 

Prediction: Packers 34 – Bears 24

Bears Record: 8-7

Chi-Guy Record: 9-6