It is known that the Bears have won four of five games. It isn’t known whether they can continue that pace for the next 11 games.
The Bears entered the dreaded stretch of two games only four days apart, one that could have turned their 3-0 record as of Sunday morning into 3-2 as of Thursday night. After losing to — and being manhandled by — the Colts, the Bears found a way to end Tampa’s three-game winning streak.
Still, the Bears continue to live dangerously in their victories, coming back from double-digit deficits in three of their four wins, and nearly squandering a 17-point lead in the other victory.
“Now we get a little bit of a mini-bye to be able to say, ‘Where are we right now, where can we get better and what can we do so that we keep this momentum going and really start peaking at the right time?’” coach Mat Nagy told reporters on Friday.
He’s right. Teams get better or worse during every season; they rarely stay the same. In nine days, the Bears will face a better-than-expected Carolina team before a string of four tests prior to the bye week: At the Rams, Saints, at the Titans (assuming they can play the game), and Vikings.
Even if the Bears go 2-3 over the next five games, that’s 6-4 at the bye. A 3-2 run puts Chicago at 7-3. Or maybe they’ll duplicate what they did over the first five games, finishing 8-2 before the six-game stretch run.
Regardless, the early-season wins become money in the bank for a team with a very good defense and a good-enough offense that perhaps will get better as Nick Foles gets more reps and games under his belt. While a 4-1 start guarantees nothing, it’s better than any permutation other than 5-0 (or, technically, 4-0-1).
So where do the Bears go from here? Ultimately, that’s up to the Bears. But they have to be feeling good about where they are.