Game of the Week:
New England Patriots at Chicago Bears, CBS, 4:15 PM: The Patriots are fresh off embarrassing the Jets in a 45-3 blowout on Monday night and are winners of four straight games, while the Bears lead the NFC North and haven’t lost a game since October. No one questions the Patriots’ strength, but there still seem to be question marks surrounding the Bears’ legitimacy as a league power. Look for Chicago to defend its home field and put those doubts to bed with a surprise win on Sunday afternoon. Yes, we’re taking Cutler over Brady.
The Pick: Bears 27, Patriots 21
Quote of the Week: “That was the worst defeat in my coaching career that I’ve been a part of. But there’s another defeat that I think was probably just as humiliating, just as bad—and that was the ’85 Bears against Miami.”—Jets coach Rex Ryan, on Tuesday, following New York’s 45-3 loss in New England.
Stat of the Week 1: For the first time since realignment in 2002, seven of the league’s eight divisions have two teams either in or within one game of first place through the first 13 weeks of the season.
Stat of the Week 2: Since joining the New Orleans Saints in 2006, Drew Brees has passed for 21,932 yards, the most passing yards by a quarterback over any five-year span in NFL history.
Stat of the Week 3: With 39 receiving yards this Sunday against Pittsburgh, Terrell Owens will become just the third player in NFL history with 10 different 1,000-yard receiving seasons.
Player to Watch: Earl Bennett, Chicago Bears: Jay Cutler’s old college teammate at Vanderbilt, Bennett recorded the first 100-yard receiving game (104 yards) of his career last week against Detroit. Two weeks ago, Bennett had a career-best two touchdowns in Chicago’s win over Philadelphia. Bennett’s rapidly emerging as the canon-armed Cutler’s top target.