The Bears are the Class of the NFC North and Other Bullets

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The Bears are the Class of the NFC North and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

A friend of mine was telling me about how their sleep has been better since they changed positions and now sleep diagonally. And since I’m always in the market for sleep-improving tips, I’ll probably follow their lead.

Of course, it’s a lot easier to sleep when the NFC North standings look like this at bed time:

  • To be clear, there’s still work to be done for the NFC North leading Bears. They may have three games remaining against teams with losing records (at Giants, vs. Packers, at 49ers), but those teams present some unique challenges (of which we’ll get into in the weeks to come). And they still have two other games (vs. Rams, at Vikings) against contenders. I don’t want to be a wet blanket on a cold day, but the Bears can find themselves in a dog fight on any given Sunday.
  • But also … I gotta admit: it felt good to put the Packers in the non-contender category. As we discussed prior to last night’s loss, Sunday’s game was essentially a knockout for the Packers. FiveThirtyEight’s updated playoff probability tracker has Green Bay’s postseason odds sitting at a lowly 6 percent. And that’s a real shame (lolololololol).
  • Great teams often show themselves with how they react after taking a great fall. So how’s this for the Bears’ response since that soul-crushing loss against the Packers in the season opener: Chicago is 8-2 and has four wins (Seahawks, Vikings, Lions twice) against teams the Packers couldn’t defeat. Two of those teams (Seahawks, Vikings) are jockeying for playoff positioning. Meanwhile, the Packers are 3-6-1 since opening the season in the win. They are 0-6 on the road and are 1-5-1 against teams with winning records. Winning in Week 1 was supposed to spur the Packers to greatness and send the Bears in a tailspin, but neither has happened. So much for the “same ol’ Bears.”
  • Take that for data:

  • It’s not inconceivable that the Packers finish 9-6-1. They’ve got three December home games against teams that play their home games in domes (Cardinals, Falcons, Lions) and a road game against the Jets that you would be tempted to pencil in as a win. That would put the Packers at 8 wins and make their Week 15 game against the Bears a real doozy of a showdown. That could be a game where the Bears deliver the final, knockout blow to the Packers’ postseason chances. Wouldn’t that be sweet? (Michael: I hear you, but … I rather it be meaningless for them).
  • Fun fact: The Packers haven’t won a road game since December 10, 2017, when they needed an overtime touchdown from Davante Adams to beat the Browns. Their next shot at winning a road game? Week 15 against the Bears. Yeah, it’d be nice to be the team extending misery for a change.
  • One thing that separates the Bears from the Packers is that they make fewer mistakes on the field:

  • And from a coaching standpoint:

  • Remember when Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said he went with “the numbers” when he made a decision to punt on 4th-and-2 while trailing with about four minutes left against the Seahawks? So much for that.
  • This is as true as the snow is white:

  • Things get tougher for Minnesota the next two weeks with road games at New England and Seattle. The Vikings-Seahawks game could be another potential knockout game or could be a contest that settles which team gets the No. 5 seed and avoids the Bears on Wild-Card Weekend. In either case, it’s a game with major playoff implications.
  • Maybe Bears-Vikings in Week 17 will mean a lot for both teams. Perhaps it will be nothing. No matter how things unfold between now and then, one thing I’m willing to bet on is continued greatness when it comes to touchdown celebrations. I can’t wait to see what the Bears have up their sleeves next because it’s going to be tough to top this one:

  • The Bears are the class of the NFC North at this point. No team has scored more points (317), allowed fewer (211), or has a better point differential (plus-106) through 11 games of the 2018 season. They’re good, folks! Enjoy it while you can because the ride is fun.
  • Up next for the Bears is a Giants team that dropped to 3-8 after blowing a 19-3 lead to the reeling Eagles. The Giants are talented as heck with Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley leading the charge, but that team is flawed six ways from Sunday. But since the early season loss to Miami still lingers, it’s tough to imagine Chicago not coming out hungry this weekend.
  • This is a big weekend for bettors who took the UNDER 7.5 wins for the Giants. Not that I’m nervous or anything.
  • Here’s a thought: Whatever you’re feeling right now about the Bears is better than what you were thinking at this time last year. There is no denying that. At this time last year, we were diving through mock drafts and thumbing through potential coaching candidates. To not be going through that this year is so refreshing, I’m having trouble putting it into words. It’s a beautiful thing.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.