Chicago Bears Still Aren’t Favorite for NFC North Title

By Clyde A. Speller

After the first six weeks of the NFL regular season, the Chicago Bears are sitting atop the NFC North with a 4-1 record. Surprisingly the Minnesota Vikings are second, followed by the defending division champion Green Bay Packers and the struggling Detroit Lions bringing up the rear.

I’m still baffled at how Minnesota got off to a fast start in the first quarter of the regular season. However, I believe that Sunday’s loss to the Washington Redskins has brought them back down to earth.

The Lions, Chicago’s next opponent, are coming off a much-needed victory this past Sunday, but are still needing improvement overall as a team.

The biggest threat to the Bears is the Packers. Green Bay is much better then what their 3-3 record shows. The Packers had their biggest win of the season so far this past weekend over the used-to-be undefeated Houston Texans. This victory put the entire league on notice that they are still an elite team, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Just think, if it weren’t for an incorrect call by a replacement ref, the Pack would be tied for second in the division right now.

Even though the Bears are in first place in the division, have arguably one of the best defenses in the league, and finally have a receiving threat in wide receiver Brandon Marshall to complement the running game spearheaded by Matt Forte, I still think that they haven’t totally earned the right to be called the best in the NFC North.

Let’s not forget that their only loss of the season did come at the hands of the Packers.

We also shouldn’t forget that even though this is the most complete team that Chicago has had since their Super Bowl run in 2006, their Achilles heel is still the offensive line.

I believe that the o-line will dictate how far this team goes throughout the rest of the season. If the left side of the offensive line, mainly left tackle J’Marcus Webb, can play more consistent and not rely so much on tight ends and running backs to help protect Jay Cutler on passing downs, then Chicago would probably be one of the best all-around teams in the league.

In Chicago’s Week 2 loss to Green Bay, Cutler was sacked seven times by the Packers’ 3-4 defense that the Bears have had difficulty defending.

Until Chicago finds a way to contain that pass rush, and as long as Green Bay has Aaron Rodgers under center, the Packers will still be the team to beat in the NFC North.

Follow me on Twitter @ClydeASpeller

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