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Hey Lovie, the Bears are better than the Bucs

It's obvious that the Bears are in a must-win situation Sunday but not for all the reason you might initially think.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears let go of Lovie Smith following a 10-6 season in 2012. At the time it seemed crazy to think that 10-6 would get a coach fired, but it was 'playoffs or bust' and the Bears hadn't been there in two years and they missed the postseason in five of the past six seasons.

Smith, the third-most winningest coach in franchise history was a good coach but it was still the right decision to let him go. He had reached his peak and it was aware that we had seen his best. At the time he wasn't the right coach to lead the team to the promised-land.

Just a little more than a season and a half later though, with the team at 4-6 and on track to miss the playoffs, and taking another step backward under Smith-replacement Marc Trestman, its easy to get Lovie-goggles and start thinking what could have been. But this is a fruitless endeavor. The team would, in all likelihood have missed the playoffs under Smith anyway or come very close. The offense would likely be in the same rut it is currently in, or worse.

So this weekend don't lament what the Bears let go, it was the right choice at the time and if anything, the man picked to replace was the poor choice.

Which brings us to this Sunday's game. The Bears face the 2-8 Bucs at Soldier Field and the Bears need to keep winning in order to keep jobs and, as a long shot, playoff hopes alive.

The Bears need to win, not only for record purposes but simply because the Bucs are a team that they should beat. Chicago is clearly not a good team this season, and that's fine. There should be some solace taken in the fact that while they got absolutely curb-stomped and run over by the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots in consecutive games, at least those teams have gone on to do it to opponents who were thought to be much better than the Bears.

The 7-3 Eagles were thought to be one of the better NFC teams but they were trucked 53-20 against the Packers. And New England, since beating the Bears silly, have dropped 43 points on the Denver Broncos and 42 on the Indianapolis Colts. The Bears just happened to run into two juggernauts hitting their peak.

I maintain that their worst loss is the week five loss to the Panthers. In the NFL you need to beat the bad teams on your schedule and upset one or two of the good ones. The Bears dropped one to Carolina that they should have won. The Buffalo Bills are a close second but even that team might make it to .500. The Dolphins have a good shot at nine or 10 wins. The Bears have winnable games on their schedule still and while 7-9 and a pick in the 11-16 range isn't what some fans want, it might be where this team should have been all along.

The Bears aren't as bad as they were against New England and Green Bay but they are good enough to take care of a bad Tampa squad and give the suddenly-sliding Lions a game on Thanksgiving. This season is far from over and while Sunday's game doesn't have some kind of larger "They need to beat Lovie to show they made the right choice" they do need to beat Lovie's Bucs simply because they are a better team.