Week 1: Chicago Bears Vs. Indianapolis Colts

Divisional Playoffs - Seattle Seahawks v Chicago Bears
Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers
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.
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.
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.


  1. Mike Vick #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) Philip Rivers  of the San Diego Chargers (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Week 5 Tale Of The Tape: Pittsburgh Steelers At San Diego Chargers

    The high-powered Pittsburgh offense was a bit out of sync against the Ravens in Week Four without Ben Roethlisberger, but it seemed like Mike Vick was pretty close to finding success.

  2. Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) Giants quarterback Eli Manning. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Week 5 Tale Of The Tape: San Francisco 49ers At New York Giants

    Colin Kaepernick is under extreme pressure to produce at a high level. That has not been happening, and the 49ers are in danger of seeing their season fall apart.

  3. Peyton Manning (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 30: Derek Carr #4 of the Oakland Raiders passes against the St. Louis Rams in the second quarter at the Edward Jones Dome on November 30, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams beat the Raiders 52-0.
    Week 5 Tale Of The Tape: Denver Broncos At Oakland Raiders

    Peyton Manning appears to have come to terms with the deficiencies in his game at this point. He can no longer whistle the ball downfield at the last minute, and some medium-range passes are difficult as well.

See All Tales of the Tape