Nov 17, 2021

11/17/21: Are the Bears going streaking? Don't rule it out

11/17/21: Are the Bears going streaking? Don't rule it out
(USA Today Sports)

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Good morning, frents!

News broke last night that the home of the Clippers and Lakers will be changed to " Arena" by this weekend.

Chicago Twitter had plenty of jokes considering the pain the Bulls just inflicted out at Staples, but the laughs are going to be on us when the Bears are playing in the Dogecoin Dome out in Arlington Heights.  — Kevin Kaduk

Tuesday's results
Loyola 92, Chicago State 56
Northwestern 83, New Orleans 67

Tonight's schedule
NIU (FB) at Buffalo (6, ESPN2)
Hawks at Kraken (9, TNT)
Bulls at Blazers (9, NBCSCH)

The Bears could still make a late run: Here's why

By Brendan Sugrue

I've joked recently how Chicago Bears fans can pump themselves up for anything when it comes to their favorite football team. Even after a tough loss, the most cynical fan can start believing a win is inevitable as the next game approaches.

So after having a week off from the Bears and seeing Justin Fields nearly lead the team to a comeback victory in their last game, some Bears fans are in good spirits for the final eight games. Is it blind optimism? Or can this team actually go on a run to make the playoffs a realistic possibility?

Believe it or not, there are a few people who think the 3-6 Bears can pull off an improbable winning streak to get themselves back in playoff contention. Whether it's a fan like DeVourie Nesby, co-host of the Three Kings Podcast, Adam Rank of the NFL Network, or even wide receiver Darnell Mooney himself, the hope is there for a miraculous run — even if Rank is mostly joking in his breakdown.

Myself? I simply can't buy an eight-game winning streak. It hasn't happened for the Bears since the 1985 season and we know this group isn't close to that team's level. But that doesn't mean the Bears can't go on a good run during the second half of the season to make their final record look more respectable.

In fact, I'm counting on it.

Here's a look at the remaining schedule
• Week 11 - vs. Baltimore Ravens
• Week 12 - at Detroit Lions
• Week 13 - vs. Arizona Cardinals
• Week 14 - at Green Bay Packers
• Week 15 - vs. Minnesota Vikings
• Week 16 - at Seattle Seahawks
• Week 17 - vs. New York Giants
• Week 18 - at Minnesota Vikings

Here's why it could happen

• Matt Nagy's teams have always been streaky. In just three seasons, Nagy has put together seven different winning streaks of three games or more. They only had one such streak under John Fox and Marc Trestman combined from 2013-2017. When Nagy's teams get going, they can be hard to stop. We even saw it late last year when the Bears reeled off three wins in a row to help propel them into the playoffs.

• Justin Fields is finding his rhythm: With Justin Fields improving in 2021, it's not unrealistic to see this offense become suddenly potent as the weather turns against a few teams that look less formidable than they did a month ago.

• Arizona and Baltimore have faltered recently: With Baltimore looking very mortal against the Dolphins and the Cardinals banged up, the Bears could be getting them at the right time. Keep in mind that both games happen at Soldier Field.

• The Bears feast on Detroit during Thanksgiving: Nagy loves to play the Lions on Thanksgiving as he's 2-0 against them during his tenure.

• They're facing Green Bay at the right time: It's never an easy task to try and beat the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, but if history is any indicator, they could be getting them at the right time. Since 2017, the Packers are 0-4 coming off a bye week.

Here's why it won't

• Nagy is also dreadful coming off a bye week: While Nagy can stack those streaks better than the Golden Nugget stacks pancakes, he's notoriously bad coming off a bye week. Nagy is 0-3 in games after the bye and the defense has had a hard time keeping points off the board., The Bears have allowed an average of 36 points and 453 yards in each of those losses.

• Baltimore could bounce back: To add on to the post-bye blues, they're facing a Ravens team that's second in the league in total yards per game (414) and first in rushing yards per game (154). They looked bad against the Dolphins but they're well-coached and could bounce back in a big way.

• Defensive health: A few key playmakers have missed multiple games for the Bears already this season. Akiem Hicks, Khalil Mack, and Eddie Jackson are all players who have been dealing with injuries for multiple weeks. Hopefully they were able to get healthy over the bye because if they miss more time, it's bad news for this defense.

What do you think?

News and results

Loyola: Bound for the Atlantic 10 in 2022-23

The Ramblers will leave the Missouri Valley Conference after the season and join the Atlantic 10, Gary Parrish of CBS Sports first reported on Tuesday.

  • It's not an unexpected or shocking move. Loyola's recent success made them an attractive candidate to bigger conferences looking to add the Chicago market to their broadcast footprint.
  • Loyola will no longer have to worry about winning the conference tournament to earn a tourney bid. The A-10 has sent two or more schools to the big dance every year since 2005.
  • Loyola will have to get used to traveling more. Their new competition in the A-10 includes everyone from Davidson down in North Carolina to Fordham in the Bronx to Rhode Island. The two closest schools are Dayton and St. Louis.
  • As Parrish noted, Loyola is currently ranked 32 by KenPom, higher than any current A-10 school.
  • MVC is looking at UT-Arlington, Kansas City and Murray State to replace Loyola. Belmont has already committed to join the conference.

Hawks: Release the Kraken!

After a nice four-day break, the Hawks are joining the Bulls out west. Their four-game trip starts tonight with their first ever game against Seattle. (The Bulls will be playing down in Portland at the same time ... get those afternoon naps in.)

  • The Kraken are 4-10-1 so far and sit one point behind the Hawks.
  • Hopefully the Hawks will start better against the Kraken than they did against Vegas, the league's most recent expansion team. The Golden Knights won the first seven meetings against Chicago.
  • Derek King is undefeated in three games as the Hawks interim coach. The team will also face the Oilers (Saturday), Canucks (Sunday) and Flames (Tuesday) on this trip.

1. DeMar DeRozan tells Chris Haynes that he thought a sign-and-trade with the Lakers was a "done deal" over the summer. Yahoo Sports

2. Tom Ziller with a great look on what it says about the Lakers that they couldn't do the obvious thing and take on some luxury tax to keep Alex Caruso. Good Morning, It's Basketball

3. An alderman actually proposed that the city of Chicago should buy the Bears and sell stock to fans. (And here I thought the NFL's rumored expansion to 40 teams would be the dumbest football news I'd hear all day.) Sun-Times

4. There will be an NWSL final pregame show on Tik Tok before the Red Stars take the pitch on Saturday. Insider

5. The latest in "As Scottie Pippen Turns:" Michael Jordan ruined the game of basketball and LeBron is the true GOAT. 670 The Score

Note: I mistakenly left Candace Parker off the shortlist of great free-agent signings in Chicago sports history on Tuesday morning. I regret being dumb. — K.K.

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