The Chicago Bears entered the bye week flying high after a 48-10 home win and have emerged from the time off riding the wave of momentum that comes with a three-game winning streak.
But while the Bears put their feet up for some well-deserved R&R, the rest of the division was fighting it out. And after five weeks of NFC North action, the division standings still have the Bears at the top, just the way we like them:
NFC North Standings:
- Chicago Bears: 3-1-0
- Green Bay Packers: 2-2-1
- Minnesota Vikings: 2-2-1
- Detroit Lions: 2-3-0
You know you’re in a good place when you’re not in danger of losing your spot in the standings during your bye week, though we should point out that each team is within a win of the Bears.
And with that in mind, let’s move on to the playoff odds entering Week 6:
FiveThirtyEight: 2018 Playoff and Division Odds
- BEARS: 55% make playoffs (+1%), 39% win division (-3%)
- Vikings: 51% make playoffs, 35% win division
- Lions: 25% make playoffs, 15% win division
- Packers: 22% make playoffs, 11% win division
As expected, Week 5 produced some movement below the Bears in the division.
The Vikings were the big winners, as their win against the Eagles boosted their playoff odds by 16 percentage points and chances to win the NFC North by 11 percentage points. Thanks for nothing, Eagles. Mason Crosby’s disastrous kicking experience turned out to shift the fortunes of the Packers and Lions. Green Bay’s loss dropped their odds to make the playoffs to 22 percent, the lowest in the division. Meanwhile, Detroit’s home win bumped their playoff odds to 25 percent. As it stands after five weeks, the Packers have the longest odds of winning the division and making the playoffs. Tough break. Weird break, too.
FiveThirtyEight still projects the Bears at 9.1 wins and 6.9 losses, which is tied for the 10th best in the NFL. It’s a nice forecast, but it’s still plenty early. As we learned the last time Michael did this exercise, things can change quickly. But with the Bears riding a three-game winning streak and coming off a week of rest to face a Dolphins team reeling after back-to-back losses, the future is looking bright.