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NFL Power Rankings: Checking on the bye week Bears

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Chicago Bears v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

This was the best weekend of NFL football for Chicago Bears fans in a about a month as our favorite team finally didn’t lose a game. Sure the Bears were on their bye week, but the other three NFC North teams all lost which was a nice bonus.

Hopefully the Bears rested and refocused this week while getting together a solid game plan to knock off the Packers on Sunday Night Football. A win would get the Bears a bit close to the top of the division and keep their playoff hopes alive.

I know, I know... the odds on the 5-5 Bears going on a run to close out the season are slim, but stranger things have happened in sports.

Let’s check on what the NFL Power Rankers have to say this week about our Bears.

ESPN gave a Thanksgiving style approach to their rankings this week while keeping the Bears at 16th overall.

What they’re thankful for: LB Roquan Smith

Smith is playing at an All-Pro level. The inside linebacker leads the NFL with 15 tackles for loss and ranks tied for third with 96 total tackles through Week 11. Smith, 23, arguably has been the best player on Chicago’s ferocious defense; a unit that also features former Pro Bowlers Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Eddie Jackson and Kyle Fuller. The eighth overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft, Smith’s upside is enormous. The Bears might perpetually struggle on offense, but the defense should be in good hands with Smith for years to come. — Jeff Dickerson

Yahoo Sports moved the idle Bears up 1 spot.

17. Chicago Bears (5-5, LW: 18)

When asked on Monday, Matt Nagy said the Bears are “working through” injuries to Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t matter much which one starts.

Bears up 1 according to USA Today’s Touchdown Wire.

18. Chicago Bears (5-5.Week 11 Bye. Last week: 19)

Another team on a bye week, so another question to try and answer.

The question facing Chicago is this: What card does Matt Nagy have left to play?

He benched Mitchell Trubisky for Nick Foles. He handed over play-calling duties to Bill Lazor. And yet, the offense is still bad and the defense is trying to carry a middling team to the playoffs. Last week against the Minnesota Vikings, the Chicago offense failed to reach the end zone, they struggled throughout the game to move the football with any consistency, and Brian Griese was apoplectic in the booth at some of the designs and formations being used by Lazor.

Now Nick Foles is hurt.

That likely forces Nagy to play the “return to the starting quarterback” card, giving Trubisky another chance to move this offense. Does that give anyone confidence that the Bears can start moving the football again? Remember, Trubisky was benched when Chicago was winning games. Now they’re losing, the offense is struggling – perhaps more than they were earlier in the year – and Nagy is running out of options…and time.

While the original USA Today has the Bears dropping.

22. Bears (20): A spiraling team trying to break a four-game skid draws Green Bay while trying to decide between two injured and decidedly average quarterbacks. What could go wrong?

Sports Illustrated has the Bears below 7 teams with losing records.

23. Chicago Bears (5–5)

There are no answers coming on offense—the quarterbacks don’t know where they’re throwing it, the offensive line can’t block, the running backs can’t run. For the Bears to scrape their way back into the playoff picture, it will have to be through takeaways and special teams. The fact that, two Mondays ago, they got two takeaways and a kickoff return touchdown and still lost at home to the Vikings is not encouraging.

CBS Sports dropped the Bears 4 spots this week to 23rd overall.

They come off their bye with a big road game at Green Bay. Did they find any offense during the bye? If not, it’s going to be a tough final six games.

Here’s how Athlon Sports has it.

21. Chicago Bears

Last week: 21

The four-game slide is on everybody’s mind in Chicago but the team at least benefited from some rest on the bye and the rest of the division all took losses on Sunday. Add in a bit of good injury news about Nick Foles and maybe that game against the Packers is a better spot to turn things around than most expected.

The Sporting News still has the Bears fairly high.

16. Chicago Bears 5-5 (16)

The Bears had a bye to regroup and will hope that either Nick Foles or Mitchell Trubisky will be healthy to salvage their slipping playoff status in a must-win game against the Packers in Week 12. Defense simply isn’t enough to save them. dropped the Bears 3 spots to 26th overall.

Matt Nagy has yet to announce a quarterback for Sunday’s matchup against the Packers, only saying that a change under center is still “on the table.” The translation feels straightforward: Nagy has seen enough of Nick Foles, but he can’t pull the trigger on that move until he knows Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder) is physically able to return. We’re past the point where Trubisky is auditioning for his future in Chicago — that ship has likely already sailed for the former No. 2 overall pick — but it makes sense for the Bears to get a younger, more mobile player under center. The alternative of a hobbled, possibly washed Foles isn’t much of an option at all.

That’s a range of 16 to 26 for the .500 Bears. Who has it right this week?