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Bears hit bye week with momentum

Chicago Bears v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Getty Images

We’re checking in with teams as they hit their bye week.  Or at least we are trying to.

Next up: The Chicago Bears.

Familiar position

Lovie Smith told everyone to calm down after the team’s loss to the Lions on Monday Night Football in Week 5.  He pointed out that if the team could beat the Vikings and Bucs, they would be 4-3 just like last year at the bye.

Give Smith credit: That’s exactly what happened.  After a tumultuous training camp and start to the season, the Bears are in decent enough shape.

The Bears season has a different feel to it after two strong efforts. They completely destroyed Minnesota, and controlled the action against the Bucs in London.

The Bears have proven capable of beating mediocre competition. They can’t beat the best NFC teams: The Packers, Saints, and Lions all have wins over Chicago.

Forte leads the way

Adrian Peterson is the best running back in the NFL.  Matt Forte may be the most important to his team.  Forte leads all players by a wide margin in yards from scrimmage with 1,091.  He is just off Chris Johnson’s all time yards from scrimmage record pace.

It’s hard to overstate how good Forte is as a receiver. He has a shot to be the first running back since Marshall Faulk to put up over 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season. It’s no coincidence Mike Martz was involved in both seasons.

Improving passing game

Jay Cutler may have enjoyed the best two game stretch of his Bears career in the loss to the Lions and the win over the Vikings. He is looking more comfortable. His pass protection has improved from absymal to simply lame.

The offense still has to be more consistent after some early ugly outings, but it’s headed in the right direction. It’s 12th in scoring despite the 21 sacks Cutler has taken. The team has a +4 turover margin.

Safety dance

Chris Harris started the season at strong safety; he was released Thursday. Brandon Meriweather was signed for $3.25 million and now sits on the bench. The team is going young with Major Wright and Chris Conte at the position.  This is a shaky secondary overall.

Average defense

Lovie Smith teams are supposed to be built on defense. At this stage, the Bears have been ordinary stopping opponents. Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher are still playing at a high level, but they don’t get a lot of help. The defensive line has been decent. Julius Peppers has played at less than 100%.

Chicago’s only chance to make a postseason push is for the defense to improve dramatically.

Angling for a wild card

The Bears are three games back in the NFC North, so their only hope for a playoff spot is a wild card. They are in decent shape with wins over NFC contenders like Atlanta and Tampa Bay.

The next two weeks after the bye are huge.  The Bears travel to Philadelphia before hosting Detroit. Sweeping those two games would put Chicago in terrific position before an oddly timed four-game tour through the AFC West.

After seven weeks, the Bears are in the mix. Their recent play indicates we’ll probably be talking about Bears tiebreakers come late December.

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34 Responses to “Bears hit bye week with momentum”
  1. ilovefoolsball says: Oct 27, 2011 7:48 PM

    The real question is can they beat the other good NFC teams: Packers, Saints, Niners, (Lions ??)

    No, no they can’t.

  2. snarkzilla says: Oct 27, 2011 7:48 PM

    If Martz doesn’t run wild I think the Bears will be a more formidable obstacle to the Packers than the Lions will. It’s always a blood and guts game anyway.

  3. touchdownroddywhite says: Oct 27, 2011 7:51 PM

    Something tells me the Bears will lose to Philly, beat Detroit and then drop 2 games against the NFC west, only to come back and sweep the rest of their division games and keep things interesting.

  4. nikkodawg says: Oct 27, 2011 7:54 PM

    Tell Matz I said F-ck Him! Tell him Kyle Turley says the same thing.

  5. jebs15 says: Oct 27, 2011 7:55 PM

    IM sorry but the bears simply suck.

  6. philtration says: Oct 27, 2011 7:57 PM

    If they had changed the pass protection scheme at the start of the season then they would have beaten both New Orleans and Detroit.
    Maybe the Packers too.
    They were in all of those games until the 4th quarter.

    As bad as they played against the Lions that game was very winnable.

  7. dino2997 says: Oct 27, 2011 8:02 PM

    At this point the other good NFC teams aren’t any better then the Bears with the exception being the Packers simply because Aaron Rodgers is playing at a whole different level. The Lions and Saints games were on the road and it would be interesting to see what would happen at home.

  8. dfeltz says: Oct 27, 2011 8:07 PM

    ilovefoolsball says:
    Oct 27, 2011 7:48 PM
    The real question is can they beat the other good NFC teams: Packers, Saints, Niners, (Lions ??)

    ________________________

    We’ll find out against Packers and Lions. Chicago lost to Seattle and Washington last year before their bye, yes the Saints are superiorly better, but their are 9 games to go for them to keep improving.

  9. lrt79 says: Oct 27, 2011 8:08 PM

    The Bears have the potential to be a good football team. It’s there, and anyone denying it has on blinders.

    The problem is, a good football team can only go so far. Barring a complete collapse or a huge Matt Forte injury, they’ll be in the wild card hunt and may even make it into the playoffs.

    Only complete games by all three phases of the ball will help the Bears compete against Green Bay or New Orleans or even San Francisco if they continue as they have been.

    So far the Bears have only been able to do that against an Atlanta team that has lost it’s identity, luck and momentum from last season and the woeful Vikings.

  10. jimmysee says: Oct 27, 2011 8:14 PM

    I’m a Packers fan with advice to the rest of the league — never underestimate the Bears.

  11. orangeflh says: Oct 27, 2011 8:15 PM

    The whole NFC North always plays tough against each other. There are no “gimmes” here.

  12. vikingsinla says: Oct 27, 2011 8:20 PM

    With the possible exception of the Fins, the Bears have the worst chemistry of every NFL team. The players have been vocal in their disgust with the front office, and it shows on the field.
    The Martz chuck-n-duck offense is contingent on:

    A) an RB that can catch, which the definitely have. Forte is a great fit for this offense.
    B)An o-line that can protect on 5/7 step drops, but the Bears simply don’t have it. Cutler really isn’t a bad QB, but he won’t last without protection.
    C) WRs that can get YAC. The cupboard is bare here. Hester can be elusive, but doesn’t have the skill-set to get open consistently.

  13. buckybadger says: Oct 27, 2011 8:23 PM

    @ilovefoolsball, won’t have to worry about the Niners until the playoffs. Just have to take care of business vs the Eagles, Detroit and pray for the Packers to come in flat.

    They are a wild card contender for sure. Peppers will get better and become the monster he is. 3 of 4 in the playoffs from the North this year.

  14. iseek11 says: Oct 27, 2011 8:32 PM

    Relax Bears fans. I hate to say it but better days are ahead.

    I know Cowher has been linked to Miami, but he wants to win soon and the Bears are closer. Chicago is similar to Pitt in more than colors n climate. Cowher will get u a solid OL to go with your runni game. He will inspire your defense. And he will find a Hines Ward in the draft.

  15. packfaninchitown says: Oct 27, 2011 8:32 PM

    dino2997 says: Oct 27, 2011 8:02 PM

    At this point the other good NFC teams aren’t any better then the Bears with the exception being the Packers simply because Aaron Rodgers is playing at a whole different level. The Lions and Saints games were on the road and it would be interesting to see what would happen at home.
    Saints and Lions are still more consistent, despite the Bear wins against substandard Viking and Buc teams and the Lion losses to a good SF team and a suddenly-resurgent Falcons team.

    The Packers aren’t just better because Rodgers is a better QB than Cutler, they have better receivers, better tight ends, much better GM and I’d say about even on defense.

    Forte is hands down the Bears offense, without him they’d be 2-5, 1-6 at best.

    The two wild card spots will come down to whichever team doesn’t win the NFC South (between NO and ATL), the Lions and probably 1-2 teams out of the NFC East. Bears will make a run for it but don’t see them having enough talent to actually make it this year.

  16. snarkzilla says: Oct 27, 2011 8:34 PM

    The Bears’ have issues but their biggest problems are Angelo and Martz. When Martz lets the offense out to play, they’re dangerous.

  17. xstaticonradio says: Oct 27, 2011 8:35 PM

    Forte leads all players by a wide margin in yards from scrimmage with 1,091

    It wouldn’t be wide if he hadn’t played one more game than Fred Jackson.

    They were within 20 yards I believe until this week.

  18. caboose12 says: Oct 27, 2011 8:58 PM

    The bears are who we thought they were, and we let them off the hook

  19. snarkzilla says: Oct 27, 2011 9:04 PM

    Forte’s rushing total includes a -2 yard game against the Packers.

  20. baegucb says: Oct 27, 2011 9:13 PM

    The Pack may eventually lose, well they will lose, because they aren’t trying real hard. But they did hold Forte to 9 carries for a grand total of 2 yards. 9 inches per carry?

  21. angelosdraftboard says: Oct 27, 2011 9:13 PM

    ilovefoolsball says:
    Oct 27, 2011 7:48 PM
    The real question is can they beat the other good NFC teams: Packers, Saints, Niners, (Lions ??)

    No, no they can’t.
    ___________________________________
    Lions Yes (at home)
    Niners Yes (anywhere)
    Saints Maybe (at home)
    Packer NO !!! not in a house, not with a mouse, not over here, not over there…………….unless Rodgers in a a body cast.

  22. staffordsyear says: Oct 27, 2011 9:19 PM

    Is pft gonna post the same thing for the lions after they beat the snot out of the broncos this week?

  23. whitecastleisafoodgroup says: Oct 27, 2011 10:04 PM

    @vikingsinla says: “With the possible exception of the Fins, the Bears have the worst chemistry of every NFL team. The players have been vocal in their disgust with the front office, and it shows on the field.”

    Really? By your handle I have to take it you’re a Vikings fan and you’re ripping any other NFL franchise for “worst chemistry” and disgruntled players?

    PFT just published earlier that the Vikings have had the most arrests of all NFL franchises in recent memory. The Vikings are a dumpster fire that’s like one of those trick birthday candles. It keeps lighting itself up.

    Credit Frazier for starting to clear house but until the Vikings stop having players routinely busted their fans might want to refrain from chucking stones at other teams.

  24. hateithere says: Oct 27, 2011 10:07 PM

    Did you guys intentionally skip the 49ers, Bills, Bengals, and Pats or did you just forget to do any of these teams

  25. metalhead65 says: Oct 27, 2011 10:25 PM

    the bears will be fine as long as martz realizes he is not coaching the greatest show on turf any more. use the plays that fit the personal you have and stop trying to relive past glory.the offense can work and be effective without trying to prove you are a genius every week. the lions beat the bears because of 3 blown coverages on defense and because they were playing at home and over their heads. they have proven that the last 3 games including a loss to the falcons who the bears destroyed. it will be a different outcome at soldier field. the packers game should be a hard faought game as they always are if the bears limit their turnovers.if they get behind early because of it then they are doomed,if not then I think forte will have a little better day than last game

  26. axespray says: Oct 27, 2011 11:22 PM

    philtration says:Oct 27, 2011 7:57 PM
    “If they had changed the pass protection scheme at the start of the season then they would have beaten both New Orleans and Detroit.
    Maybe the Packers too.
    They were in all of those games until the 4th quarter.
    As bad as they played against the Lions that game was very winnable.”

    lol, they were “in” those games?
    maybe in the first 3 minutes of the game or so.

  27. axespray says: Oct 27, 2011 11:23 PM

    philtration says:Oct 27, 2011 7:57 PM
    “If they had changed the pass protection scheme at the start of the season then they would have beaten both New Orleans and Detroit.
    Maybe the Packers too.
    They were in all of those games until the 4th quarter.
    As bad as they played against the Lions that game was very winnable.”

    lol, they were “in” those games?
    maybe in the first 1 minute of the game or so.

  28. rexsuperbowl06 says: Oct 28, 2011 12:11 AM

    Everybodys favorite teams on who’s the best in the league and yada yada yada change every week. The Bears Have no worries and anytime New Orleans wants to come to Chicago in January again it’l be a long trip back for Brees and Co. Detroit is done and will lose again this week so their done. San fran is overrated..Once again it will be Chicago and Green Bay playing in January so just sit back and enjoy the greatest rivalry in all of sports.

  29. rexsuperbowl06 says: Oct 28, 2011 12:13 AM

    Stupid fans the Bears have been injured. Detroit will not beat Chicago in the rematch and neither will Green Bay

  30. rexsuperbowl06 says: Oct 28, 2011 12:18 AM

    hateithere/49ers, Bills, Bengals????????/ WOW are you serious??????? A few good games and these are some of best teams in league?? If you need a bookie or something let me know. You prolly cant pick games to save your life. These teams will begin to lose soon oenough or at best 1st round playoff exit..My goodness some people wow

  31. dino2997 says: Oct 28, 2011 1:06 AM

    packfaninchitown says:
    Oct 27, 2011 8:32 PM

    Forte is hands down the Bears offense, without him they’d be 2-5, 1-6 at best.

    —————————————————-

    What exactly do you think the Packers would be without Aaron Rodgers? Why don’t you ask the Colts how their season is going.

  32. asublimeday says: Oct 28, 2011 3:41 AM

    @axespray

    Yea, they were. Thanks for showing all of us how little you actually watch games. Keep checking ESPN for their hourly “what to think” update

  33. asublimeday says: Oct 28, 2011 3:43 AM

    @packfaninchitown

    Thank you for yet another ridiculous comment. Why not go troll the packer boards? Or just find something else to do other than spewing your misinformed tripe on bears posts.

  34. fronta1 says: Oct 28, 2011 11:24 AM

    The Bears are sorting through issues. First it was abandoning the running game. Then it was pass protection. Then it was Cutler losing patience. The biggest problem the Bears have had was the relationship between Cutler and Martz. It looks like they are starting to sort those things out, evidenced by the last two games, and if they can continue to sort things out they are an excellent football team. Give Cutler credit for finally standing up to the schism that Martz is. He has thusfar been more of a problem than a solution, but if Cutler and Lovie are given a little more influence over the playcalling, I think it could work out beautifully.

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