Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.
How many Bears players do you think will make the Pro Bowl?
I think anywhere from 4-6 Bears players will be voted to the Pro Bowl. I see four defensive players as locks in tackle Akiem Hicks, outside linebacker Khalil Mack, cornerback Kyle Fuller and safety Eddie Jackson. I believe that running back Tarik Cohen also deserves to be part of the NFC team based on his tremendous versatility and playmaking ability. Others who I think could make it include inside linebacker Roquan Smith, safety Adrian Amos, tight end Trey Burton and special teams ace Sherrick McManis. The Pro Bowl teams will be announced Tuesday night on NFL Network. The Bears haven't had a member of their defense make it to the Pro Bowl since the 2013 season when cornerback Tim Jennings went. Said defensive coordinator Vic Fangio: "Hopefully we'll have some guys make it. I think we have several guys who are very deserving, and it's about time. There's been a long drought and I think we should have good representation. I'll be disappointed if we don't."
Do you agree with me that Eddie Goldman is the most underrated player on the Bears?
If nose tackle Eddie Goldman is not the most underrated Bears player, he's certainly near the top of the list. It's probably mostly because he plays a thankless position where he's doing the unheralded dirty work in the trenches. But Goldman certainly has been an integral member of the Bears defense this season, both stuffing the run and pressuring the quarterback. The safety he produced by sacking quarterback Jared Goff in the end zone in last Sunday night's win over the Rams snapped a 6-6 tie and gave the Bears all the momentum. It was a huge play. Here's how defensive coordinator Vic Fangio described Goldman this week: "Good, solid play, unselfish, in my opinion a quiet leader of the team. He's a leader by example, by doing his job, not by using his voice. He's had a very good season for us and it's nice to see him make a big play that people would notice."
What's the big benefit in finishing as the third seed in the NFC playoffs instead of the fourth seed? If I'm not mistaken, you host a game in the first round and then hit the road for the division round.
As compared to the fourth seed, the third seed theoretically has an easier path by facing the sixth seed instead of the fifth seed in the first round and the second seed instead of the first seed in the divisional round. If the season ended today, the third-seeded Bears would host the sixth-seeded Vikings and the fourth-seeded Cowboys would host the fifth-seeded Seahawks. Another benefit is that if the third and fourth seeds both upset the top two seeds, the third seed would host the fourth seed in the NFC title game.