Friday, November 27, 2009

The battle of newly acquired quarterbacks

Both the Bears and Vikings acquired new quarterbacks in the offseason, but it's really only worked out for the Bears as Cutler has thrown for 42 more yards than Favre.

Wait, check that. Turns out that's the only statistical advantage Cutler has over The Aged One. Cutler has 15 touchdowns, Favre 21. Cutler has 18 interceptions, Favre just three. Favre has the best QB rating in the NFL, Cutler ranks 24th. I could go on, but if I do I think I'll be sick.

I'm man enough to admit when I'm wrong. From my blog, May 10:
But here's the long and short of it: Come on back, Brett! Favre led the NFL last year with 29 interceptions, and he's thrown 84 over the last four seasons. He got hurt near the end of last season (hence Minnesota wondering if he needs major surgery) and the Jets fell apart down the stretch, going 1-4 and missing the playoffs. Sure he's a legend, but a 40-year-old interception prone quarterback coming off an injury? If I were allowed to pick a division to put him in, I'd go with the NFC North. Tillman and Vasher, get to work developing your post-interception dances, cuz you're gonna need plenty of them.
I guess being on a team with Adrian Peterson and a top ten defense in points allowed is a slightly better situation than a team with Thomas Jones and a below average defense. But give Brett some credit. He has played exceptionally well and has the Vikings rolling at 9-1.

Maybe this is just wishful thinking on my part, but we do still have 37% of the season ahead of us. It was the stretch run last year when things went awry for Favre, so it's a little early to crown his ass. But through 10 games, he sure hasn't been who I thought he was.

And that makes me awfully scared of this Sunday's affair. The Vikings have a balanced offense and a stifling defense. They also have yet to lose at home (5-0). The Bears struggle against both the run and the pass, and they're a pathetic 1-4 on the road. This game has been rated "B" for blowout, and may not be suitable for children.


Orlando Pace vs. Jared Allen. Allen is second in the league in sacks, and going up against Pace might be all it takes for him to take the lead. Allen is a crazed, mulleted, real-life Viking while Pace is an aging, overpaid invitation to sack the quarterback. The Bears may want to run some screens his way to help offset the penetration he's likely to get.

Visanthe Shiancoe in the red zone. The tight end is fourth on the team in receiving yards but leads the Vikes with seven touchdowns. Favre loves to look his way near the goal line.

Contain Adrian Peterson. It is possible, though not normally for the Bears. A.P. has averaged 138 yards/game against Chicago in his career, but has been held under four yards per carry four times this season, and has been limited in practice this week due to an ankle injury. Obviously, Favre can do his share of damage as well, but you still have to make him beat you by focusing on Peterson, perhaps the best player in football.

Get Cutler goin'. I have of course been a huge proponent of a balanced offense, keeping Forte in the game plan to keep defenses honest. But Minnesota is third in the NFL in run defense and just 21st in pass defense. Lovie absurdly claimed last week that the Bears are still a running team, but he knows as well as the rest of us that they're not. This is the week for Cutler to get his arm screwed on straight and lead the Bears the way we hoped he would when Angelo traded for him.

Where'd he come from?

QB Brett Favre, Southern Mississippi
RB Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma
WR Greg Lewis, Illinois
WR Sidney Rice, South Carolina
G Steve Hutchinson, Michigan
DE Jared Allen, Idaho State

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