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NFL Super Bowl Stock Watch – The Chicago Bears and Jay Cutler

 4-14-09

Obviously the biggest news in NFL betting these days is the trade of a pouty Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears. I’ll get to the fact that Josh McDaniels should be fired this week too, but right now I have to give the Chicago Bears betting backers a glimpse in to the future. Do you have any reason to be hopeful?

The first case against the trade is what Chicago had to give up to get Cutler. Getting rid of Orton was a must because the fans in Chicago soured on him about three years ago. How the Bears’ fans didn’t sour on Lovie Smith first is beyond me. But an offense that ranked 14th in the league with 23.4 points per game needed a pick-me-up. Cutler is just that ticket.

The summer at least will boast some good fortune for hopeful Bears fans that watched the combination of Orton/Grossman drag their team in to the dirt. Of course, it didn’t help to have a passing game that ranked 21st in the league with just 191.3 yards through the air. But how much of that was Orton/Grossman’s fault?

The offensive line in Chicago has been its glaring weakness for two straight years. Matt Forte emerged as a viable running back threat, with a solid combination of durability, speed, power and a nose for the endzone. Despite Forte’s youth and energy, the Chicago rush offense averaged 104.6 yards per game, good enough for 24th in the NFL.

Cutler’s mere presence in the backfield will keep defenses honest. However, I’m wary of how well any quarterback could succeed with a questionable offensive line and an even more worrisome set of receivers.

Devin Hester of all people led the woeful receiving corps of Chicago with 51 catches for 665 yards and three touchdowns. And while the emergence of Greg Olsen with five touchdowns and 574 yards was nice, Cutler isn’t exactly the kind of quarterback that has thrived with an explosive tight-end. The third guy on the depth chart of Chicago’s receivers is – yep – Matt Forte with 63 catches (the most on the team) and 477 yards with four receiving touchdowns.

Cutler is used to passing to the beast of Brandon Marshall and the speed demon of Eddie Royal. With such a tattered offensive line, it will be a wonder if Cutler survives this season while being sacked like a pile of potatoes. If he can get the ball off, can he really count on Rashied Davis, Brandon Lloyd, Marty Booker, Devin Hester of Greg Olsen? Hardly.

The worst part about this trade is that it doesn’t take in to consideration how difficult it is to throw in Chicago during the late parts of the winter. The cold I’m not concerned about. It gets plenty chilly in Denver too. But the winds can peak at 40 miles an hour, and the Chicago aerial game will be shut down by Mother Nature more so than anything else.

The Bears were an ugly 6-8-2 ATS, while going just 3-4-1 ATS on the road…and at home. They were in a rebuilding phase, and gave up the next three years of roster replenishing to answer their quarterback prayers. Cutler is certainly with a heavy price tag, but Chicago gave up far too much to get him, especially since they don’t have the offensive line to protect him, nor the receiving talent to take advantage of him.

Green Bay and Minnesota are both getting better, and while Chicago fixed a mighty problem at quarterback, they won’t be able to surround Cutler with the talent necessary to succeed in 2009-10. That is, of course, unless they land Plaxico Burress and he manages to stay healthy…

By the way, did you notice that I didn’t even discuss the defense in Chicago? That’s because there’s nothing to talk about. They went from being feared and revered, to becoming a joke. Sorry Urlacher. You guys may have your quarterback, but the rest of the team still sucks.

Superbowl XLIV Odds: +1800

NFC Championship Odds: +800

 

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