Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday Night Football: Desperate in St. Louis

Chicago Bears (10-2) @ St. Louis Rams (5-7)
8:30 PM ESPN

The Bears have already clinched the NFC North division but must play tonight like a team that is fighting for its playoff life

The Rams are 5-7 and must play tonight like they are not fighting amongst themselves in order to keep its slim hopes of a wild card berth alive.

What do you get when two desperate teams go at it on Monday Night Football? Hopefully a compelling game between two teams that have been painful to watch as of late.

The Bears story is well documented. Raced out to a 7-0 record on the strength of a phenomenal defense, great special teams play and a hot young quarterback, Rex Grossman.

Then dropped 2 of the past 4 and seen said QB slip into obscurity by committing 18 turnovers in his past 7 games, leading to a near revolution to put backup Brian Griese in before a Super Bowl season goes down the drain.

Meanwhile Rams QB Mark Bulger ripped teammates he says didn't care enough after last weeks embarrassing home loss to Arizona. Will these players rally around their quarterback who senses a season slipping away? Or will they tune him out and give the kind of lackluster performance that gets coaches fired and fans irate?

Chicago coach Lovie Smith says he will pull Grossman in the turnover monster rears his ugly head again. But will that make Gross-man play better, or might the pressure force him into an even worse performance than anyone thought possible?

My guess is the St. Louis comes out strong, with RB Stephen Jackson challenging the tough Bears D, which has allowed 137 YPG the past 4 games and is greatly weakened due to the loss of massive DT Tommie Harris.

Bulger will be connecting with the one player he never has to worry about giving his all, WR Torry Holt, and the Bears fall apart as Grossman throws 3 picks, fumbles twice, and at one point hands the ball to the St. Louis defense and says "here you go, an early Christmas present."
MY PICK: St. Louis 19, Chicago 13

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