Week 1 Nuts & Bolts: Bears vs. Colts
CHICAGO BEARS (0-0)
Coach: Lovie Smith | Record including playoffs: 71-57 | Last week: No game
Career record vs. Chuck Pagano: 0-0 | Career record vs. Colts: 1-2
Key stat: Chicago’s 11 projected starters have combined for 23 Pro Bowls and played in a combined 962 regular-season games with 773 regular-season starts. In addition, each of the projected starters started in at least nine games last season for the Bears.
Offense rank in 2011: 24th (314.1 ypg) | Defense rank: 17th (350.4 ypg)
Offensive leader: Quarterback Jay Cutler plays his first real game in 294 days when he steps on the field against the Colts. With Cutler at the helm, the Bears have posted a 19-8 record over the last 27 games. Cutler needs five touchdown passes to surpass Jim McMahon to move into third on the club’s all-time passing TDs list and six more to move to No. 2.
Defensive leader: Despite the recent problems he’s experienced with an injured left knee, Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher remains confident he’ll be able to contribute at a high level against the Colts. With a start against the Colts, Urlacher moves into a tie with Keith Van Horne for the fourth-most starts (169) in franchise history.
" A win and a Green Bay Packers loss would give the Bears the most opening-day victories of all time. The Bears and Packers are currently tied with 52 opening-day wins.
" The Bears have won 15 of their last 16 games in which they led after the first quarter.
" The Bears have won 11 of the last 13 games in which they finished on the plus side of the turnover ratio and are 42-9 since 2004 in that scenario.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (0-0)
Coach: Chuck Pagano | Career record: 0-0 | Last week: No game
Career record vs. Smith: 0-0 | Career record vs. Bears: 0-0
Key stat: In the preseason, the Colts finished second in the AFC in passing yards (267.5 yard average) and total offense (343.8) while quarterback Andrew Luck completed 62.1 percent of his passes, and tied for second in the AFC in passing yards and touchdowns (3).
Offense rank in 2011: 30th (286.8 ypg) | Defense rank: 25th (370.9 ypg)
Defensive leader: Linebacker Dwight Freeney is a seven-time Pro Bowler and is Indianapolis’ all-time leader in sacks with 102.5. In 2011, Freeney became just the 26th player to surpass 100 career sacks, and he’s the only Colt to amass seven double-digit sack seasons. In addition, Freeney has put together 25 games in which he’s posted multiple sacks.
" Kicker Adam Vinatieri has scored at least one point in 130 consecutive regular-season games.
" Wayne has led the Colts in receiving for five consecutive seasons.
" Mathis has posted 41.5 sacks in his last 61 regular-season outings.
" Freeney has posted 42.5 sacks in his last 61 regular-season games.