The Bears list defensive lineman Akiem Hicks as questionable to play Sunday. I list him as probable to say hi to Eli Manning. More,
Everybody wants to talk about the quarterback heading into Bears-Giants on Sunday.
Except me. I want to talk about the running back.
But not the Bears running back. No, not Jordan Howard. He’s a placebo more than a Pro Bowler these days.
No, the running back I want to talk about plays for the Giants: Saquon Barkley.
I want to talk about him because he’s the kind of guy who can run through the Bears defense no matter that the Bears defense arguably is the best in the league and statistically second-best against the run.
The Bears allow an average of 80.8 rushing yards per game and 3.6 yards per carry, both second only to the Saints. That’s stout. Dominating. Suffocating. Except for Frank Gore.
And LeGarrette Blount.
And, the fear is, Barkley too because he delivers the same kind of style — the same kind of punishment — that showed the Bears run defense at its worst.
A 5-foot-9, 212-pound sledgehammer of a back, Gore pummeled the Bears for 101 yards on 15 carries for a relentless average of 6.7. He was such a stud that the Dolphins won a game Brock Osweiler started.
On Thanksgiving, the brutish Blount gained 88 yards on 19 carries for an average of 4.6 per touch. He scored two touchdowns and should’ve had a third, not to mention more yards, if the Lions weren’t infected with such Lionsy play calling that helped the Bears win their third straight division game and stave off what would’ve been a difficult loss.
If the 6-foot, 247-pound Blount is like trying to tackle a Coke machine with legs, then the 5-11, 233-pound Barkley is like trying to bring down a turbo dorm fridge.
Barkley is coming off consecutive 100-yard games — rushing for 101 against the Eagles and 142 against the Buccaneers — and recorded two other 100-yard games earlier this season. He’s averaging 4.8 yards per carry, and his 829 rushing yards ranks fourth overall.
Oh, and he is tied for the lead among running backs with 71 catches and ranks second among backs with 581 receiving yards.
Oh, one more thing: Barkley has yet to fumble.
There’s a reason the Giants made Barkley the second draft choice this year.
There’s a reason a Bears team playing its second straight road game should be concerned about Barkley, and that was before we learned of the questionable availability of Pro Bowl-caliber defensive end Akiem Hicks.
I suppose I wanted to talk about the running back now in hopes we won’t be talking about him Monday morning.
“It’s going to take all 11 people to stop him,” Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said.
OK. Fine. All 11 guys on Barkley. Dare Eli Manning to beat you.
The Andy Reid coaching tree > the Bill Belichick coaching tree.
Former Packers and Vikings quarterback Brett Favre told NBC the biggest rivalry in the NFC North is Packers-Vikings, and I’m thinking, nope, sorry, that rivalry is second to Aaron Rodgers-Mike McCarthy. Illinois surprisingly gave football coach Lovie Smith a two-year contract extension, and I’m thinking, it had to be the 63-0 loss to Iowa that clinched it.
Email from Bob P.: “Tell me it ain’t so … Joel Quenneville is fired by the Blackhawks! Meanwhile Rick Renteria gets a contract extension! Further meanwhile Lovie Smith gets a contract extension!”
Yeah, and it looks like it couldn’t get worse if the Illini hired Quenneville and the Hawks hired Smith.
Here’s the thing with the Tiger WoodsPhil Mickelson match: Unless each of them was putting up $10 million of his own cash, it was never going to be interesting.
A team of Spanish and Argentinian paleontologists have discovered the remains of dinosaurs that lived 110 million years ago in Argentina, in case you’re wondering about Michal Rozsival.
What’s up, Ryan Mundy?
The Giants’ Saquon Barkley is the type of bruising back the Bears struggle against.