Upright Cutler talking big

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler throws a pass against the Eagles in Philadelphia, Penn., Nov. 7, 2011....

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler throws a pass against the Eagles in Philadelphia, Penn., Nov. 7, 2011. (TIM SHAFFER/Reuters)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:58 PM ET

TORONTO - For a quarterback that has spent most of his life with the Bears running for his life and running from critics, Jay Cutler is in an upbeat mood this week.

A big reason for his chirpy attitude stems from Monday night’s convincing 30-24 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in what can only be described as a statement game.

That victory, and the way it was achieved, have put Butler and the Bears in a positive attitude heading into another key game this Sunday against the Detroit Bears.

If the Lions at 6-2 win, they will have swept the season series and go two games up on the Bears. A Chicago win and the teams are tied at 6-3.

When the teams first met back on a Monday nighter, Oct. 10, the Lions dropped them 24-13 to mark their fifth consecutive victory to open their season.

Given that the Lions have the better record and won the first encounter, the Bears would be feeling up against it, but instead they head into the game in an upbeat, confident mood.

“We’re going to be outside, not in a dome,” Cutler told the Detroit News. “We’re going to be on grass. It’s going to be a different environment for them ... a totally different ball game. They don’t have that advantage on their side this time, so it is going to be on our side.”

But it’s more than the elements — the forecast calls for chilly temperatures, wind and rain — that has the heart of Cutler beating quicker. It’s the fact that in the victory over the Eagles, he remained upright throughout, was never taken to the ground.

It’s a remarkable feat, given that the Bears offensive line has allowed 21 sacks so far and it marked the first time in 30 games that he had not been sacked.

“It’s so much more fun, just going out there and playing with those guys and being able to execute the offence and have some fun and be creative,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

Cutler, who has nothing but positive thoughts this week, figures that the protection he received against the Eagles was not an aberration but a taste of what may come.

“We can do whatever we want,” he said of what the offence can accomplish if he gets the time. “When that front five is comfortable and picking things up and the pocket is clean, it’s going to be hard to stop us.”

“It starts up front. When the line keeps me clean and I’ve got a good pocket and I can see what’s happening downfield, we’ll probably have a good day. As the game progressed, that started happening.”

The Lions defensive front is the strength of their D. They have Ndamukong Suh causing mayhem in the middle of the line and can bring it from the edge as their 24 team sacks suggests.

To change Cutler’s cheeriness they have to put him on the ground.

What are the chances, the odds that he can go consecutive games without hitting the turf?

GRIND IT OUT

The New York Giants have emerged as the team to beat in the NFC East but find no let up on their schedule.

This Sunday they are on the west coast going up against the 7-1 San Francisco 49ers.

In facing the 49ers, the Giants know what to expect, a steady dose of running back Frank Gore being shoved down their collective throats.

Under new coach Jim Harbaugh, the San Francisco offence is Gore left, Gore right and Alex Smith completing a short, high-percentage-completion pass. It has worked in all but one of their games, the losing one a 27-24 overtime loss to Dallas.

On the season, Gore has gained 782 yards, fifth best in the league, on 159 carries for a 4.9-yard average.

The Giants, meanwhile, are vulnerable against the run as they have allowed an average of 127 rushing yards per game and have allowed four different running backs to gain 100-plus yards against them.

“Obviously, you look at the stats, I have a hard time sitting here and arguing with you that this one plays into our hands because we just haven’t stopped the run,” Giants defensive end Dave Tollefson told the New York Post. “We’re going to find out Sunday. Other than that, I don’t know what to say. If they run the ball on us they’re going to beat us. Everybody knows that.”

Stopping it, will be the problem.

“They run it early, they run it often. He’s a tremendous running back, speed, vision, power,” defensive tackle Chris Canty said. “You name it, he’s got it. We’ve got our work cut out for us. He can make his own space. He can BYOB ... bring his own blocker.

“What you have to do is take away their strength and they want to run the football, we know that, they know that, they know that we know.”

EVERYBODY > TEBOW?

Tim Tebow has been the subject of perhaps more scrutiny and debate about his abilities or lack of same than just about any player in recent history.

The debate, though, is not restricted to the media, various websites, bloggers and fans. Now his peers have gotten into the act. In a recent poll conducted by The Sporting News — 11 players from 31 teams — Tebow was tabbed as the NFL’s most overrated player.

In a tight race, Tebow edged out Dallas QB Tony Romo by one vote, 22-21, for the dubious honour.

Mark Sanchez, QB of the New York Jets, was a distant third with nine votes. Of the 17 players to receive at least two votes, seven were quarterbacks.

Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh received six votes, Titans running back Chris Johnson five and Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco five.


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