Oh, Chicago Bears, how I love and loathe thee. Whenever they have a primetime game, I feel like its a showcase for the entire nation to witness just how good this Chicago team is (even though practically all games are accessible somehow to everyone anywhere). So far, the results have been... mixed, to put it kindly. A lopsided loss on Thursday night against Green Bay in week two, a great Monday Night win against Dallas, a gritty Monday Night win against Detroit, and then two straight poor performances in nationally televised games. The good news for the remaining difficult schedule for the Bears (with four straight games against teams with a winning record): no more night games! There's always hope, and right now, Obi Jay Cutnobi is the Bears only hope.
As for the rest of the NFC North, we had one close divisional game and one well-deserved bye week. The Vikings finally got a bye (one thing to be thankful for Thursday: no more bye weeks! Moar Football!) and find themselves only one game out of first place in the ole Black and Blue division. The Packers traveled to Detroit (possibly to buy some new cars) and got out alive with a 24-20 win, pushing the Lions further into last place and driving their fans to move up their Thanksgiving Day plans so that they'll overdose on tryptophan way before they have to watch the Lions "play" the Texans.
Onto the Power Rankings! Links to each ranking are included in the table.
|Bears (7-3)||8 (3)||6 (3)||11 (6)||8 (4)||13 (8)||6 (5)|
|Packers (7-3)||6 (7)||4 (6)||7 (5)||4 (3)||7 (6)||5 (4)|
|Vikings (6-4)||15 (15)||14 (14)||14 (13)||14 (14)||21 (22)||17 (15)|
|Lions (4-6)||19 (17)||19 (17)||21 (17)||18 (18)||10 (11)||16 (14)|
As expected, the Bears dropped in each subjective poll (the first four listed), with Chicago dropping between three and five spots. The Bears are still in the top ten in three of the four subjective polls, and the rankers were
unkind accurate with their derision of our offensive line. ESPN:
Division lead gone, schedule remains tough. Jay Cutler or no, the Bears have to find a way to block somebody.
Before assuming that Monday night's outcome would have been different with Jay Cutler, remember that the offensive line would have been the same.
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com with the
I was about to write something deep here, but the 49ers ran a stunt and pummeled my laptop.
The Packers inched up the boards due to their close win in Detroit, and leapfrogged the Bears in all subjective polls. And yes, the Packers are technically in first place due to their win over Chicago, in week two, but technicalities won't get you top billing on the table, only the best record (unless it favors the Bears, then I'm totally going all technical on that table).
The Vikings held steady as the median of the NFL, proving that not all rankers are silly enough to push bye week teams up and down the board all willy-nilly-like. The Lions are the highest or second-highest ranked 4-win team in all subjective polls except PFT, so its not like they're terrible, just maddeningly inconsistent.
The new poll we're taking a look at (Aikman's asleep at his keyboard) is from AdvancedNFLStats.com. And before you freak out about the fact that the Lions are ranked higher than the Bears, this is a Team Efficiency Rankings list, so its scientific, not opinion-based, which explains the Panthers, Lions, Bengals, and Redskins all ranked higher than the Bears. And before you say poppycock to their ranking format, they do have the Bears as the top-rated defense (although our offense is 31st).
Last (but first in our hearts) is Football Outsiders and the DVOA ratings. The 49ers creamed the Bears so bad that they jumped from sixth to first in one week, which is practically impossible in their scientific rankings model. The Bears dropped a spot to sixth, but remain right behind Green Bay, and both trail the Seahawks. Last week we mentioned how epic the Bears' defense was this season, and despite getting shredded by Colin Kaepernick in his first career start, they remain as the top-rated defense this year, ahead of the Seahawks and the Texans (the 49ers are sixth). Last week, the Bears were on pace to be the second-best rated defense that Football Outsiders has tracked. After this weeks... ahem... performance? They actually only fall to third all-time, behind the 2002 Buccaneers and the 1991 Saints. In fact:
(T)he bigger surprise here is that the Bears don't take a bigger hit from their terrible performance in last night's game... by FO standards, the Bears still have not had a game this year where the defense played below average. Part of the issue here is that the 49ers offense was far more spectacular in quarters one and three... (and) in part because the 49ers offense has been so good this year overall -- they now rank second in offensive DVOA behind New England.
As for the Bears offense? 29th overall and sinking fast. The only worse offenses in the NFL: the Cardinals, Jaguars, and Chiefs (good golly miss molly!). The Vikings, next week's opponent for Chicago, rank 20th in offense and 18th in defense, and both teams are in the top three rankings for special teams (Bears first, Patriots second, Vikings third).
What did you think of the rankings this week? Are you a fan of the AdvancedNFLStats.com efficiency ratings? What do you think is the best power rankings list?