This is certainly a good team; they have taken care of business when they needed to, created timely turnovers, and moved the ball well on offense. But they have flourished by barely beating bad or average teams this year. This Bears team has yet to beat a top team, and besides thumping the Pittsburgh Steelers, almost every win against poor teams has been a scare.
This trend continued against the New York Giants. The Giants marched the ball downfield against the Bears all game. The Giants lost because of bad throws and poor route running, but not because of a strong defensive performance from the Bears.
In fact, the Giants averaged 6.7 yards per play, which would have been the highest in the league for a full season. Two of Eli Manning’s interceptions were easy grabs for the Bears and not really skill plays, but more simply mistakes. The Bears had a similar game against the Minnesota Vikings. Sure, they won, but they just scraped by against a bad team. That should not inspired confidence, but instead worry.
These close games against bad teams are not really of much concern, what is how the Bears have played against good competition. The two teams over .500 that they played beat them, and in both cases it was by more than a touchdown. If the Bears want to win the division, they will need to play better against top teams and put away bad teams.
Otherwise, a few extra games will be lost, and in the competitive NFC North, that’s all it takes to miss the playoffs.
It certainly isn’t time to panic for the Bears. This is a solid team that should actually make the playoffs. However, there are some small concerns. In two weeks, the Bears play the Packers on Monday Night Football, then get the Detroit Lions and Baltimore Ravens in the next two weeks. If they can win two of those three games, they will illustrate that they are ready to make a deep run.
If they cannot pull out a win in any of those games, they’ll likely be 5-5 and falling out of the playoff picture.