The Bears are aiming to become one of just a handful of teams to rebound from a below .500 mark at the halfway mark to making the playoffs.
Their 3-5 start has many fans writing them off but there is precedent for teams rebounding to the postseason. Just two years ago now-Bears receiver Josh Morgan was on the 3-6 Washington team that made the postseason. Before them, the 3-6 Jacksonville Jaguars got a playoff berth back in 1996 after their 3-6 start.
Chicago needs to start their turnaround Sunday, but barring that it is still possible to salvage something from a 3-6 start as noted above. They would likely need a lot of help but this season also doesn't bode well as one to pull that off because of the large number of teams that already have 5 or 6 wins in the NFC.
Another current Bear inside Halas Hall who knows something about overcoming a bad start is head coach Marc Trestman.
Trestman has bounced around the league and seen his fair share of ups and downs but there was no season quite like the 2002 Raiders season when he was the offensive coordinator.
Adam Hoge brings us the details in his thegamechicago.com article:
It was 2002 and Bill Callahan's team was preparing for the 500th Monday Night Football game ever - a daunting road trip to Denver where the 4-4 Raiders would play the 6-2 Broncos. The Raiders had won their first four games that season, but then lost four straight games going into the bye week. The Broncos were also coming off their bye week and were brimming with confidence as they welcomed a division rival they had beaten 12 times in their last 14 meetings.
"Many believed the league had caught up with the offense, and many media people believed we wouldn't win another game," [said] Marc Trestman
No one gave the Raiders a chance. The fans had given up on the season. The media called for Callahan to be fired. And many were questioning the offense.
It's a near-identical spot to the one the 2014 Chicago Bears face. The Packers are 5-3 but they've had the Bears' number for the last several years. They are confident, riding the wave of their nice run following a 1-2 start. Seems like not too long along they were trouncing the Bears 38-17 at Soldier Field back in Week 4.
Back in 2002, Trestman and his head coach Bill Callahan, along with offensive line coach Aaron Kromer and running backs coach Skip Peete formulated their game plan to attack the Denver Broncos. They also filled up two grease boards with reasons that the team wouldn't win.
That's right, the coaches gave their team lists of why they would not defeat their opponent.
Kromer explains in Hoge's article:
"They were writing down the reasons that you could lose the game," Kromer recalled. "That was what was important about that game. What could cause you to lose. Why would you lose a game like that? And from there, work backwards and say, ‘OK, how do we avoid these things?'"
Using this formula I decided to list all the reasons I could think of for why the Bears will lose on Sunday night in Green Bay to the Packers:
1) Turnovers: This is easily the biggest reason the Bears will lose. The Packers defense has forced 15 turnovers on the season and the Bears offense has that many on its own. Jay Cutler is awful against the Packers and will give it away to them at the worst times.
2) Packers receivers can't be covered: The Bears are almost always torched by the Packers' wideouts. Jordy Nelson has caught 20 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns in his last two games against the Bears. In his last three games against the Bears Randall Cobb has 15 catches for 283 yards and four touchdowns, including a two-catch-for-two-touchdown game last December. Without Charles Tillman and with rookie Kyle Fuller being beat up it will be the same old, same old.
3) Pass defense: The Packers pass defense is the ninth best in the league. They will be able to keep Jay Cutler and the big receivers out of rhythm and shutdown.
4) Offensive balance: The Bears play calling has been such a problem at times this year, when they should be balanced they get away from the run and start throwing way too often. The Bears need balance on Sunday but let's face it, that won't happen.
5) Lack of pass rush: The Bears were unable to pressure Aaron Rodgers in that Week 4 game. He was sacked only one time and lost no yards on the play. Without Lamarr Houston and despite the fact that Rodgers has been sacked 20 times this season, the Bears won't be able to get within a breath of him, allowing him to torch the Bears over and over.
These are just five of the biggest reasons I think that the Bears will lose on Sunday night. Perhaps Trestman and Co. can borrow them to try to motivate the team and avoid these mistakes to get back in the win column.
What do you think are the reasons the Bears will lose on Sunday?