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Pro Football Weekly GM Hub Arkush answers your Bears questions twice per week in our newsletter:
Why would the NFL flex the Viking game? Bears play four days later on Thanksgiving. Two division games in 88 hours? @bsaldock
There are two reasons, with the second being as simple as the NFL and NBC wanted the more compelling game in prime time. Right now, the Jaguars, who were originally scheduled to play the Steelers in that slot, are probably the biggest disappointment in the league, while the Steelers-Le’Veon Bell story has grown old and tiresome, although it does appear that could now be the game Bell is back for.
It’s also possible the league didn’t want to have to shine a light on Bell if he is back next week.
But the main reason is good old-fashioned greed, which drives most of what the NFL and the networks do.
Beyond the fact that Bears vs. Vikings is now the more compelling matchup, Chicago is the third-largest TV market in the league and Minneapolis is the 15th-largest market. Pittsburgh is currently the NFL’s 20th-largest market (24th in the U.S.) and Jacksonville is the NFL’s 27th-largest market (42nd in the U.S.).
While Steelers fans are rabid, no team delivers better local shares than the Bears, and the Vikings fans are passionately devoted too.
Bears vs. Vikings will make a lot more money than Steelers vs. Jaguars.
I know during your pregame with Pat ... Kevin White being a healthy scratch you said that might be the beginning to the end. How? We have not seen him play!!! To consider a bust in Bears eyes @aguzman1969
We actually have seen him play, and he hasn’t done anything. Whether he has not been targeted when he’s been on the field is because he wasn’t a primary target, or he hasn’t done enough to get open and make himself a primary target is known only to Matt Nagy, Mitch Trubisky and Kevin White.
What we do know is he is finally healthy enough to play for the first time in four seasons, and in spite of being the seventh overall pick in the draft, he hasn’t done enough to demand the ball.
White has been a solid citizen and a good teammate, but as a healthy scratch it is almost impossible for him not to become a distraction, even if he does his best not to be.
At this point, now that he wasn’t one of the Bears' 45 best players Sunday in Buffalo, what’s he going to do to become one?
It is a sad story, but it’s the risk you run when you draft athletes over football players.
Will the Bears win a single division game? They're 6-25 vs. the division since 2013. People around here act like they own the Lions but that has been totally untrue since Lovie's departure. @cravencharlie
If you’re asking me for a guarantee, I can’t give you one. But if I were a betting man, I’d say, yes, the Bears will win a division game ... and probably more than one.
This Bears team probably isn’t a better team than the Vikings yet, but they are much improved and as talented as the Packers and the Lions.
You are correct, the Bears are 1-9 against the Lions since Lovie Smith was fired following the 2012 season after going 9-1 against them under Lovie the previous five seasons.
But I have no idea who acts like the Bears own the Lions, and what happened the past five years really doesn’t matter right now.
The questions are whether or not Matt Nagy is ready to out-coach Mike Zimmer, Mike McCarthy and Matt Patricia; when will Khalil Mack and Allen Robinson be healthy; and is Mitch Trubisky ready to outplay Kirk Cousins, Aaron Rodgers or Matt Stafford?
With Mack and Robinson, the Bears, I'd expect, to go 3-3 in the division this year; without them, 2-4 or 1-5 seems more likely — mainly because Aaron Rodgers is Aaron Rodgers — and 0-6 is a possibility, but really unlikely.
Do you see the Bears making a run at Bruce Irvin once he clears waivers? He would look good opposite Mack! Mike@viking22588
Editor's note: Irvin signed Wednesday morning with the Atlanta Falcons.
No, I don’t, and I really hope they don’t. Why would the team with the worst pass rush in the league release the only guy it had left who could really rush the passer?
It's probably in part because the Raiders have cash issues and they save the remaining $3.7 million he is owed this year. But Irvin is also a big personality who had his share of issues in college and off the field since coming to the NFL, and he has never lived up to his athletic ability as a pass rusher, averaging just six sacks a season from 2012-17, and never notching more than eight.
When Khalil Mack gets healthy, the Bears will already be looking for more playing time for Isaiah Irving and Kylie Fitts, while still trying to develop Leonard Floyd and Aaron Lynch.
It’s hard to see how Irvin is a good fit.
Think we need a larger sampling size to determine if (Jordan) Howard is struggling. I’d like to know how many carries he had the prior two seasons through 7 games and compare to this year. @JimGottberg
Jim, as a rookie, Howard became a starter in Week Three and had 137 rushes in his first eight games, last year, he had 162 rushes and this year he has 126 through eight games. Perhaps more relevant, he had less than 15 rushes once in 2016, twice in 2017 and five out of eight games this year.
Matt Nagy isn’t stupid. If Howard was averaging 5.2 yards per carry like he did as a rookie, or even the 4.1 he averaged last year instead of this year’s 3.5 average, I’m sure he’d be getting the ball more.
But is his average and total production down because he’s not getting lathered up enough, because the line isn’t blocking for him or because there is something off in his game?
I can tell you that Sunday in Buffalo he looked very much like the old Jordan Howard and the line just couldn’t move anybody out of the way. Study the tape and you’ll see he was hit at or behind the line of scrimmage on nine of his 14 carries.
It may turn out he’s not the best fit for Nagy’s offense, but the kid is a quality back.