*Listen, I don't try to live my life as a contrarian. That's not true -- I kind of do. I spend a lot of time in public houses and taverns, and I have a two-hour commute that allows me to hear a lot of the sports world's most popular opinions. Sometimes, I think it's best to take a look at the other side. *
*In this space, I'll be articulating a handful of positions that are the opposite of what most people think -- unpopular opinions, if you will -- and explain why, well, my unpopular opinions are right and everyone else is wrong. Below are my unpopular opinions for Week 5. *
The Mitchell Trubisky era has started in Chicago. Mitch-a-palooza. Trubisky Business. Get Mitch or Die Trying. Look, I have puns for days. Let's just say it's an exciting time for Bears fans. We haven't been this geeked for a quarterback since Jay Cutler arrived in 2009 -- although that experience ended up being like New Year's Eve: high on expectations, low on results, and thankfully, I was blacked out for most of it.
(Look, I'm not here to besmirch Cutler. Far from it. As I've said many, many times before, Cutler is the second-best Bears quarterback of my lifetime. The list goes like this: 1) Jim McMahon; 2) Cutler; 3) I don't know, Walter Payton threw eight career touchdown passes. Without looking it up, I would guess that ranks like fifth all-time for Bears quarterbacks. Or maybe it just seems that way.)
So, it's Trubisky Time (sorry, last one), and it's going to be great.
Now, given that Trubisky is a rookie starting for a 1-3 team, a lot of folks are all, "Yeah, it's good for the Bears to get a glimpse of their future." And sure, that's not wrong. But I'm sorry, I'm not quite ready to just give up on this season just yet. I'm also not as eager to be so cavalier regarding players' careers, accepting in Week 5 that everyone on the team will be content to simply play out the string and hope Chicago drafts high in 2018. Because I'm pretty confident that's why Kyle Long has busted his ass to get back on the field -- so the Bears can maneuver a few extra spots up the draft board. Be better than this.
The Bears are in their current position because of Mike Glennon. (I don't really want to put the sole blame on him, but not to the point I won't do it.) I'm not saying a better quarterback finishes the job in Week 1 against the Falcons ... actually, that's exactly what I'm saying. So let's say that would have been a win under Trubisky. The Bucs game, fine, that was a bust. But the Bears did beat the Steelersin Week 3. And they might not have beaten the Packers, but that game wouldn't have gotten as far out of hand as it did. There were key moments when the defense held and Glennon turned the ball over.
With Mitch at the helm now, the Bears could really be .500 headed into the Week 9 bye. Stop. I'm serious. Let's check the schedule:
So, yeah, being .500 headed into the Week 9 bye (with the Packers looming in Week 10) isn't a stretch. And my boss did say he'd send me to New Orleans if the Bears had a shot at pulling this off, so I've got that going for me, too. The point is, save your future talk. Unless it's about something important, like the day FOX realizes the error of its ways and brings back "The Grinder" for Season 2.
I love what Sean McDermott has done with the Bills. I've been doing those TB 12 workouts, and they're great, but I kind of want to get on the McDermott workout plan. McDermott is jacked like John Cena. He's like the older dude in your homeowner's association who likes to strut around the pool or wash his car with his shirt off and who has certainly caught the attention of the soccer moms around the 'hood. And you're like, Damn, it would be awesome to be able to do that, but then you remember you also like pizza and burritos, so to hell with it.
The Bills are for real. I know, I know. They started off 2-2 in each of their previous five seasons -- and they have a 36-44 record in that span to show for it. But I never got the sense they were going to sustain it in any of those years. This 3-1 start feels different. It's like a restaurant space in town that has an endless run of concepts fail, but then, finally, this awesome tapas places moves in, and you're like, This is the one that will stick. That's the Bills right now.
The Bills are doing it with defense. They rank first in points allowed per game and in touchdowns allowed and fourth in takeaways. You can't just point to the schedule for an explanation, because they beat the Falcons. Oh, and for the record, they are playing nearly the same schedule as the Patriots. So the schedule is the schedule, and they are making the most of it.
The key might be the much-maligned Tyrod Taylor, who is actually one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the game. He's underappreciated, like William Fichtner in any movie he's in. From "Armageddon" to "The Longest Yard," he's always a key, if at times unspectacular, piece to the puzzle. (Although, he was the G.O.A.T. in "Go!" I can't recommend that movie enough.) Taylor never seems to get the benefit of the doubt, but he's a good. And forgive this hot take, but isn't this exactly the formula the Broncos used two years ago to win Super Bowl 50? And Tyrod > the "Weekend at Bernie's II" version of Peyton Manning.
Which you have to appreciate. But damn, this is the wrong time for all of this to surface. Like, you only leave your phone charger at home when your battery is at 9 percent -- and you never forget that thing when you leave the house fully charged. Oh, it's so annoying.
I know the Steelers are much-ballyhooed perennial contenders and the Jaguars haven't won more than eight games in a season since 2010. But this is going to be a tough week for the Steelers' passing game. No disrespect to anybody out there, but Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye comprise the best cornerback tandem in the league. Ramsey has allowed a passer rating of 23.4 and a completion rate of 36.8, according to Pro Football Focus. Somebody please think of the Gatorade buckets.
Popular opinion that I actually think is right on: The Rams' throwback uniforms are the best in the NFL.