The Chicago Bears played one of their best games of the season in defeating the Minnesota Vikings 27-13 in week 10. The offense made concentrated on balancing the rushing and the passing the game in an attempt to keep the defense honest. Chicago also did much better in third-down situations converting 11 of 19. The defense forced four turnovers and limited Viking tailback, Adrian Peterson, to just 51 rushing yards. Last, but certainly not least, Devin Hester recorded a combined 147 total yards between kick and punt returns giving the Bears good field position on several possessions. The victory improved Chicago’s record to 6-3 on the season and put then in a tie with the Packers in the NFC North division.
While the team’s 6-3 mark is respectable, it is not certain if it means that the Bears are actually a good team or if they merely made the most out of a favorable schedule through the first nine games. This may sound harsh but the fact is that only one of Chicago’s six wins have come against a team with a winning record. The combined record of the teams that Chicago has defeated are only 15-39 while the three teams they have lost to have a record of 15-11. The Bears have made a concerted effort to balance the rushing and passing game over the past two games but neither dimension of the offense has been consistently effective and the offensive line has struggled for a good portion of the season.
The good news is that the Bears are in contention in the NFC for the time being. The bad news is the remaining teams on their schedule over the next seven games. Only the Dolphins at 5-4 and the Lions (2-7) are the most winnable games. The other games are against the Jets and Patriots, who are both 7-2; an Eagles team at 6-3; road games against both the Packers (6-3) and Vikings (3-6). If the Bears want to be considered a legitimate playoff team, they will need to win at least four or maybe five of their remaining games to increase their chances of making the playoffs. I like the Bears as much as the next fan but it’s difficult to feel confident about a team who has yet to beat a quality opponent and has looked erratic at times even in victory. If the Bears have a strong showing over the next seven weeks, they will more than likely make the playoffs and silence their critics in the process. If not, then we could be looking at yet a fourth consecutive year of not being in the post-season.
Not Impressed, by Rick Morrissey, Chicago Sun-Times