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The Bears are Pro Football Focus darlings

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An early sparkling defensive start has the Bears shining analytically.

Chicago Bears v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

If you wanted to feel better about the Bears’ 2-1 start and hold on first place in the NFC North, look no further than the love Chicago is receiving from advanced analytics, most notably Pro Football Focus.

Three weeks into the 2018 season, eight Bears are in the top 10 at their respective positions. Note: no advanced statistics should be taken as gospel (look no further than the constant Adrian Amos conversations). But they are worthy looks when juxtaposed amongst a variety of information. Consider the source and compare them to different sources when possible.

At any rate, Khalil Mack is PFF’s highest-graded edge defender, no surprise for the likely early frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year. Eddie Jackson is the NFL’s second-highest graded safety, as the second-year leap towards stardom is being made. Bryce Callahan is the second-best cornerback - not nickel cornerback - cornerback. Jordan Howard is the third-best running back, despite his limited early use. Akiem Hicks is playing as the third-best interior defensive lineman as his Pro Bowl season may finally be here. Prince Amukamara is the fourth-best cornerback, likely boosted by his pick-six against the Seahawks. Charles Leno is the blindside protector the Bears have wanted, with Leno sitting at sixth among all tackles. Finally, Eddie Goldman is the ninth-best interior defensive lineman. (Football is more than sacks!)

Yes, an overwhelming portion of that list features the NFL’s current best defense in Football Outsiders’ DVOA (another statistical source to note but not take as gospel). It’d be difficult to find many bright spots amidst a currently struggling offense. Nevertheless, it isn’t a bad ideal to see so many Bears featured among the best football has to offer. A potential harbinger of what’s to come in the 2018 season.

Robert is the Editor-in-chief of The Blitz Network (subscribe here!), the managing editor of Windy City Gridiron, and writes for a host of other fine publications. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.