We’re just over a quarter of the way through the 2019 season, and the bye week makes it the perfect time to assess where the Bears stand, both as an individual unit and in relation to the rest of the NFC North.
Green Bay Packers
Right now the Packers are the top team in the NFC North. They’re currently 4-1, and 2-0 in the division. Most likely they beat the Lions on Monday and become 3-0, which would be a boon to their playoff hopes. They also have the second easiest remaining schedule in the division.
Both the defense and run game have improved for the Packers, and much of the tension that hung in the air during the end of Mike McCarthy’s tenure seems to have dissipated under LaFleur (despite initial reports that he and Rodgers were clashing). Rodgers isn’t putting up his usual numbers quite yet, but as long as they’re winning, he seems perfectly content with that.
It’s early and a lot can still happen, but it’s quite possible that Week 15 in Green Bay could hold even more significance than usual in the Bears-Packers storied rivalry.
The thing about the Lions is, they’re actually kind of good. They’re also still the Lions.
They could very easily be 4-0 right now instead of 2-1-1. They blew a significant fourth quarter lead against the Arizona Cardinals in their season opener that ended in a tie, and they kept pace with Mahomes and the Chiefs right up until the very end of their Week 4 matchup.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) December 31, 2018
The 2018 Chicago Bears played six games against the NFC North this season. The same number they always play. But these six were different.
Yes, the Bears were 5-1, with a point differential of +44. Yes, they were 3-0 at home, with a point differential of +24. But it was more than the numbers that told the story of these Bears. It was how and when they handled each opponent. Let’s look at them.
The excuses were there and would have been valid.
But none of that mattered.
I started this season writing about how the Bears looked like the same old Bears and that’s because they did. Blowing a huge fourth quarter lead to the Packers on opening night was very on-brand.
But on Thanksgiving Day, the 2018 Chicago Bears beat the Detroit Lions despite all the excuses. In doing so, they proved they are a different team. Comparing this year’s Bears to versions of the team under Marc Trestman and John Fox is just ridiculous at this point. This was even a game the Lovie Smith Bears would’ve lost.
This team didn’t. They didn’t need excuses. They just went out and won. Somewhere along the line, the team changed. Somewhere they found their swagger and turned 2018 into something with the makings of a special season.
Not the most compelling game ever played but the kind of result good teams get. The Bears played three division games in twelve days and went 3-0, outscoring the Lions (twice) and Vikings 82-58.
This three-game stretch solidified them as one of the better teams in the NFC and it would now be a terrible disappointment if there was not a football game at Soldier Field in January.
This painting is “Death and the Miser”, Jan Provoost, Flemish primitive. It is on display at Groeninge Museum, Bruges. It is brilliant.
Back in the states today and excited to get back to full-throated coverage of this remarkable playoff push!
Chicago Bears 27
Detroit Lions 20
I always like the Chicago Bears…
…and I give thanks for Ryan Pace, Matt Nagy, Mitch Trubisky, Vic Fangio & the whole lot of em.
This is not a particularly difficult football game to analyze. These two teams played less than a fortnight ago and one of the teams, your 2018 Chicago Bears, was clearly better.
But this schedule is brutal for the Bears. Sunday night, against the Vikings, was their biggest game in many-a-moon. It was also their most emotional. Resetting in just three days is nearly impossible. Especially on the road.
This is a tough spot.
Detroit will be the stage, this stuffing day
Now begins another act of the play!
Tomorrow: Game Prediction!