I am confused… did the Bears win or lose last week?
I keep checking the score and the Bears continue to lose the game by the score of 31 – 24 to the Packers. I only ask this question because the tenor around the city seems to be one of joy. I understand the sigh of relief when it wasn’t a blowout but this is the NFL, a loss is a loss and Jay Cutler is Jay Cutler.
Unlike the Bears, the Arizona Cardinals are coming off a season opening win against Drew Brees and the Saints in Glendale, AZ. From start to finish the Cardinals were the better team on both sides of the ball and it was reflected in the final score as they took home the 31 – 19 victory.
The Cardinals are a totally different team with Carson Palmer under center, Arizona started last season 8 – 1 with Palmer but a left knee injury against the Rams derailed any hopes of making the Super Bowl. With a healthy Palmer the Cardinals are looking to take the next step, which starts with the Bears in week 2.
Palmer is surrounded by playmakers who are chomping at the bit to have a real quarterback to lead their offense. The mainstay and Mr. Reliable Larry Fitzgerald has moved inside to the slot where his size, strong hand and route running will cause Alan Ball and others to have a long day in coverage.
Speed kills and your auto-generated player in Madden name John Brown has plenty to burn as a 2nd year man out of Pittsburg State. At 5’ 10”, Brown is a shifty receiver who only needs a small lane to make a 5 yard reception an 80 yard touchdown.
The Bears defense won’t be strained (pun intended) due to Andre Ellington’s as he sprained his MCL in the middle of last weeks game. The Cardinals will be forced to start journeyman running back Chris Johnson in the backfield and rookie back David Johnson’s role will increase to fill the void.
The Cardinals defense is a mirror image of their head coach Bruce Arians. They play with an edge and like to attack the offense with their speed and athleticism. Cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Jerraud Power will make Cutler’s day rough, especially with ball hawking free safety Tyrann Mathieu’s manning center field.
If ALL that was not enough, the Bears had a total of zero sacks and zero quarterback pressures in week 1 verses Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Cardinals were also not sacked last week and Palmer was only hit once all game. This game will come down to Bears and whether or not they can get to Palmer in the backfield. Palmer is not a mobile quarterback by any stretch but he has the ability to side step pressure to create passing lanes down field.
Week 1 was the blue print for the Bears offense in 2015, as Matt Forte touched the ball 29 times for 166 total yards and 1 touchdown. HC John Fox and OC Adam Gase know that the offense needs to flow through Forte so Cutler doesn’t self-destruct like in the past. Expect the Bears to attack the Cardinals 3 – 4 defense like they did last week but they will need to score touchdowns instead of field goals if the Bear expect to win on Sunday.
Cardinals Bears Notes & Predictions
Key Matchup: Bears D-Line vs. Cardinals O-Line
Key Injuries: WR Alshon Jeffery (Ques.), LB Pernell McPhee, DT Ego Ferguson (Out)
Fact: Carson Palmer is 14-2 as a starter for the Arizona Cardinals
Fantasy Spotlight: RB Chris Johnson
Spread: Cardinals -2
Prediction: Cardinals 24, Bears 27