Radical Reason

"Nil sine ratione."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

From Mike Ditka. Seriously. He has the jersey and everything. -ed.

Sports analysis has become such a phenomenon yet people seem to disregard the simple facts. Like these:

1. The Bears dismantled the Panthers last regular season, but this game could be pinned solely on the Panthers O-Line as they were dominated by the Bears front four. (Bears 1 - Panthers 0)

2. The Panthers dismantled the Bears in the playoffs, but this game could be pinned solely on the Bears secondary as they were dominated by Smith/Delhomme (Bears 1 - Panthers 1)

3. Both teams made, in my opinion, one great offseason move and had solid, if not sexy, drafts. The key here is they both reinforced positions decimated by injury which held them back last year. Bears got Griese as a FA (reinforcing QB), which was a shrewd move while the Panthers goy Key, which can only help. The Bears bolstered that secondary that was toasted by SS and company (reinforcing our oft-injured secondary) in both FA and the draft while adding to their special teams with Devin Hester. The Panthers picked up arguably the best RB in the draft behind Bush (reinforcing their oft-injured RB) while offsetting the loss of RMJ by drafting Richard Marshall, who some "experts" had slated to go in the 1st round. I call this a wash, with both teams addressing glaring needs. (Bears 1 - Panthers 1)

In my opinion, it is this black and white. Now why is it that the sportswriters are so eager to tout the Panthers as the Superbowl champs while picking the Bears to lose their disgustingly weak division? My point here is not necessarily to compare the Bears and Panthers but to provide one instance where the "expert analysis" doesn't hold water when you analyze 2006 in light of the 2005 season and subsequent draft and free agency period. All said, sure, I'd probably trade the Bears team for the Panthers team. And yes, the Bears need to prove they can win a playoff game, which they haven't done since the early 90's (excuse me, I just puked in my mouth a little).

But, when you consider the above "analysis" in light of strength of schedule and teams in the NFC North and NFC South, this is a no-brainier. The Panthers play a very tough schedule and their division is, in my opinion, the second toughest in football. Atlanta will have a nasty D but their success with hinge on Vick. Everyone knows how tough TB is. Ask the Panthers and Bears. NO actually has a QB and added another explosive player in Bush. I doubt their D will hold up. Still, they're much improved. The 3 "other" NFC North teams feature 3 rookie head coaches, two QB's pushing 40, zero proven RB's, one team starting 2 rookies on their O-Line, one team who cut their projected #1 WR, 3 mediocre LB'ing units, a disaster of a secondary in Green Bay (give me a break with the Charles Woodson signing, he is OVERRATED like none other) and the list goes on and on.

Given all this, please tell me how the Panthers are the unanimous pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl while at least 1/3 of the previews I've read do not pick the Bears to with the North. Are the Panthers that much better? Am I missing something? Are these experts really experts??

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