TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 1: Chicago Bears Vs. Indianapolis Colts

Bears
Colts
Divisional Playoffs - Seattle Seahawks v Chicago Bears
Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers
Quarterback
Winner Jay Cutler has one of the strongest arms in the NFL and he appears more mature and focused than he has been at any point in his career. His quick release and mobility are big positives.
The first game of No. 1 draft pick Andrew Luck’s career is not so much a huge event but the first step of a long journey. His intelligence and know-how will give him a big edge as he gets experience, but he will have rough spots along the way.
Offense
Winner The big move of the offseason was acquiring big-play wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who gives Cutler a big-play specialist. Running back Matt Forte is a solid runner and receiver, but the Bears still have question on the offensive line.
Donald Brown is a solid running back who should be able to take some of the pressure off of Luck. While the Colts are rebuilding, they retained wide receiver Reggie Wayne because he knows how to get open and he will not drop passes he can reach.
Defense
Winner The Bears have one of the best all-around defensive lineman in Julius Peppers, who can rarely be blocked by one offensive lineman. Brian Urlacher begins the season with a balky knee, so that means Lance Briggs can’t afford any let down. The Bears have a solid defense, but age is a concern.
Chuck Pagano takes over as the Colts’ head coach after a successful run as the Ravens’ defensive coordinator and he will use a 3-4 attack defense that will bear no resemblance to the Colts’ old Cover-2. Robert Mathis must be at his best as a pass rusher for this defense to have a chance.
Special Teams
This has been one of the Bears’ biggest edges for years, but punter Adam Podlesh (hip) may not be able to go. Robbie Gould is an accurate kicker and Devin Hester is the most dangerous returner in NFL history. He may not get a lot of play in that area this year.
Winner The Colts seem to be well-stocked in all areas of special teams. Placekicker Adam Vinatieri is one of the best ever and punter Pat McAfee averaged 46.6 yards per punt last year. The return games can be explosive.

The Winner Is

Divisional Playoffs - Seattle Seahawks v Chicago Bears
Winner Bears
3 out of 4

The Bears have designs on pushing the Green Bay Packers for the NFC North title and making a solid run at representing the NFC in the Super Bowl. While they have more big-play options on offense, the offensive line is questionable and the defense is getting older. The Colts will probably be much better in the second half of the season than they will be in the first. The Bears get the victory.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. Frank Kaminsky #44 of the Wisconsin Badgers (Photo Credit: Mike McGinnis, Getty Images) Kaleb Tarczewski #35 of the Arizona Wildcats (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Elite Eight Tale: #1 Wisconsin Vs. #2 Arizona

    It is rematch time. Last year, the Wisconsin Badgers and Arizona Wildcats met in the Elite Eight and Wisconsin walked away with a 64-63 overtime win.

  2. Devin Booker #1 of the Kentucky Wildcats  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Zach Auguste #30 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Elite Eight Tale: #1 Kentucky Vs. #3 Notre Dame

    Coming into the Sweet 16, West Virginia showed confidence that they could be the team that finally knocked off the Kentucky Wildcats.

  3. (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson, Getty Images) (Photo Credit: Gene Sweeney Jr., Getty Images)
    Sweet 16: #1 Duke Vs. #5 Utah

    So much for the weak Pac-12 this year: The Utah Utes are one of three teams from the beleaguered conference to make the Sweet 16 this year, and they’ll face the best ACC team left in the tournament: Duke.

See All Tales of the Tape