CHICAGO – There are only a few things that are certain about the Bears’ meeting with the Kansas City Chiefs in primetime Sunday night.
In spite of the fact that their matchup really doesn’t matter to anyone but their families and closest friends, NBC will set the all-time record for sideline shots of head coaches Andy Reid and Matt Nagy – at some point in the game we will get a video package of them visiting on the field before the game, quite possibly multiple times. The network also will set records for graphics with information almost every single person watching the game already knows comparing Patrick Mahomes with Mitch Trubisky. NBC’s greatest hope for the game is that they will be able to get some video of the two quarterbacks visiting on the field before the game, and we will see shots of Mahomes and Trubisky on the sidelines almost every time the other guy is on the field and Al Michaels and/or Chris Collinsworth will gush breathlessly almost every time about what the QB on the sideline must be thinking about the QB on the field.
Let’s face it, that’s why the NFL and NBC didn’t flex out of this game for one with greater playoff implications, such as New Orleans at Tennessee.
So if we already know all that, why bother watching the game at all?
Because contrary to what many seem to believe, there will be a lot that does matter going on on the field that we just have to hope NBC doesn’t miss while it is dramatically overhyping Reid-Nagy I and Mahomes-Trubisky I.
With nothing but pride and future employment to play for, will the Bears show up? Khalil Mack will for sure, and he’s convinced his teammates will, too.
“Man, if you really need motivation, you don’t really love it,” Mack said. “I love this game, and regardless of what the situation or circumstance is, I’m going to go out and give my all every time. That’s the kind of group of guys we have here, as well. They love the game, and we’re going to do whatever we can to win.”
I don’t know about winning, but I believe they will show and put up a fight.
The Bears have huge decisions to make about where they think Trubisky is and who they will put in the quarterback room with him next season.
The dynamics of that decision are quite different than they were six weeks ago when coming back from one of his worst games of the season at Philadelphia, Trubisky put up some of the best numbers of his career in a 20-13 win over the Lions including three touchdowns, no picks and a 131.0 passer rating.
Since that game, Trubisky is 146 for 229 passing for a 63.8% completion percentage, 1,557 yards with a 6.8-yard average, 12 TDs and seven interceptions along with 29 carries for 126 yards for a 4.4-yard average with a long of 23 yards and two touchdowns.
Not exactly Mahomes, Drew Brees or Lamar Jackson numbers, but enough to believe he is making progress, moving forward and beginning to get the job.
It also helps that the Bears are 4-2 in those games.
If Trubisky plays well Sunday night and the finale in Minnesota, not in comparison with Mahomes or Kirk Cousins, but executes the offense, avoids mistakes and is productive, it will affect how the Bears view their offseason moves on offense and, in particular, at quarterback.
In addition to Danny Trevathan, Nick Kwiatkoski, Kevin Pierre-Louis and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix are free agents after the season, and how they play the next two weeks will have an effect on whether they are in Chicago or playing elsewhere in 2020.
The Bears will focus on acquiring additional talent this offseason at tight end, offensive tackle and running back, but how J.P. Holtz, Jesper Horsted and David Montgomery play over the next nine days will determine whether they focus on those areas in the draft (and how high) or free agency and whether Trey Burton becomes a cap casualty.
You also can expect Kevin Tolliver and Michael Joseph, if he’s active, to be closely studied to determine whether Prince Amukamara is a cap casualty, as well.
Lastly, a wining season at 9-7 would make everybody feel a lot better.
Don’t let anybody tell you the Chiefs game doesn’t matter.
• Hub Arkush is executive editor of Pro Football Weekly. Write to him at email@example.com, and follow him on Twitter @Hub_Arkush.