The Bears dropped a tough overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints last Sunday, and now enter week 9 with another difficult matchup looming. The Bears will travel to Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans. The Bears opened as 6.5 point underdogs, the 7th consecutive time their opponent has been favored.
Making matters worse, the Bears are likely to have to start at least one 3rd-stringer on the offensive line as starters James Daniels and Bobby Massie are both on IR, Cody Whitehair is nursing a calf injury, Germain Ifedi is on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and backup Jason Spriggs has tested positive for COVID-19. To place the Bears in their proper place in this week’s power rankings, we’ll call upon our friends Optimistic Bear, Pessimistic Bear, and Realistic Bear:
Optimistic Bear (Patti): This Bears ranking is too hot.
Pessimistic Bear (Jack): This Bears ranking is too cold.
Realistic Bear (Jeff): This Bears ranking is just right.
We’ll average the combined rankings for the Bears and fit them into our list of the rest of the NFL, providing reasons why we believe the Bears deserve to be ranked accordingly. If the Chicago climbs to #1 on Sunday, February 7, 2021 you can go back and read through the rise and fall of your beloved Bears through these power rankings.
We’ll pair these rankings with a fun look back at an exciting Bears win historically against each team ranked.
Week 9 NFL Power Rankings, with a fun Bears win to look back on:
32. New York Jets (0-8, LW 32): September 23, 1991. Harbaugh and Waddle take over, force OT, and win a thriller.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6, LW 31): October 7, 2012. Tillman and Briggs each have a pick-6, Bears win 41-3.
30. New York Giants (1-7, LW 30): December 21, 1941. Bears smoke the Giants in the NFL championship game, just a few weeks after the Pearl Harbor attack.
29. Dallas Cowboys (2-5, LW 26): December 5, 2019. The final score doesn’t reflect the actual game. Nearly everything the Bears did worked, and on national TV, to boot.
28. Houston Texans (1-5, LW 27): Bears are 0-4 all-time against the Texans. Moving on!
27. New England Patriots (2-5, LW 25): January 26, 1986. Da Bears demolish the Patriots in the then-biggest blowout in Superbowl history. It’s still #2, but #1 in our hearts.
26. Washington Football Team (2-5, LW 23): December 8, 1940. Speaking of biggest blowouts...73-0. In the championship game!
25. Los Angeles Chargers (2-5, LW 21): November 9, 2015. Alshon Jeffrey racked up 151 receiving yards, and the Bears came to life in the 4th quarter to win a close match.
24. Detroit Lions (3-4, LW 20): November 27, 1980. Sweetness rushed for 123 yards, the Bears scored 14 unanswered to force OT, and then Dave Williams ran the kickoff back for the win.
23. Denver Broncos (3-4, LW 24): November 25, 2007. Hester ran both a punt and a kickoff back for touchdowns, the Bears scored two late touchdowns to force OT, and Gould nailed the game-winner.
22. Carolina Panthers (3-5, LW 18): October 22, 2017. Eddie Jackson had a fumble return and an interception, both for 75+ yard touchdowns.
21. Atlanta Falcons (2-6, LW 28): September 27, 2020. Nick Foles relieved Mitchell Trubisky in the 2nd half, threw 3 touchdowns and the Bears stormed back to win.
20. Minnesota Vikings (2-5, LW 29): September 19, 1985. Jim McMahon convinced Ditka his back spasms were minor enough that he could play, and he threw 3 touchdowns in just 6 minutes 40 seconds, to win.
19. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4-1, LW 17): December 31, 1988. “Fog Bowl” The Bears hold Philly to 4 field goals, and beat an Eagles team coached by ‘85 defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan.
18. San Francisco 49ers (4-4, LW 16): October 28, 2001. After falling behind by 19 points, the Bears roared back to force OT. Mike Brown intercepted a pass in OT and ran it back for the win.
17. Miami Dolphins (4-3, LW 19): September 4, 1988. The Dolphins were the only team to beat the ‘85 Bears, ruining a perfect record. The Bears remembered, and smashed the Fins 34-7.
16. Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1, LW 22): September 8, 2013. Robbie Gould hit a 58(!!!) yard field goal to close the 1st half, and the Bears came to life in the 2nd half to win 24-21.
15. Cleveland Browns (5-3, LW 14): November 4, 2001. Mike Brown again. Two weeks in a row with a game-winning pick-6 in overtime.
14. Los Angeles Rams (5-3, LW 12): November 29, 1942. The Bears demolish the Cleveland Rams 47-0, en route to a perfect season and a championship.
13. Las Vegas Raiders (4-3, LW 15): October 5, 2003. The Bears erase a 15 point halftime deficit, and Paul Edinger nails a 48 yard field goal to win.
12. Chicago Bears (5-3, LW 11):
Optimistic Bear: It turns out the Bears lost again, so presumably they’re due for a drop in the standings. But they’re still the Bears and that loss was mostly accountable to a few whoopsies here and there. And they barely lost to the Saints, who are 3rd on the list. So I’ll put them barely 4th, making them the top ranked team with an animal mascot, and consequently the most relevant team in the NF league.
Pessimistic Bear: The Bears belong in 19th place, behind a bunch of teams trending upwards and the 49ers, who are struggling amidst an incredibly tough division but actually have an offense. Chicago, on the other hand, does not have an offense to speak of, and that fumble should have counted so the Saints would have won in regulation anyway. The defense can’t stop the run, and the best running back in the NFL is hosting the Bears this week. The Bears are about to look like Derrick Henry’s hair: crap.
Realistic Bear: Ahead of the Browns, behind the Rams. The Bears bounced back and took the Saints to overtime. There is no such thing as a moral victory in the NFL but the Bears were competitive against a quality opponent a week after getting embarrassed by the Rams. They sit as a borderline playoff team in the standings and we should continue to treat them as such until they prove otherwise.
11. Tennessee Titans (5-2, LW 5): November 14, 2004. The Bears blow a lead to allow overtime, but then swarm the Titans in the endzone to force a safety, becoming just the second team to win in OT on a game-winning safety.
10. Green Bay Packers (5-2, LW 10): December 7, 1980. Down 48-7, the Packers pulled their starting quarterback. The Bears kept blitzing anyway. Packers coach Bart Starr threw a fit, and afterward Dan Hampton was quoted saying “Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of pricks.”
9. Buffalo Bills (6-2, LW 13): November 4, 2018. Backup quarterback Nathan Peterman gets absolutely nothing going against a healthy, dominant Bears defense. Bears win 41-9.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2, LW 9): September 30, 2018. Mitchell Trubisky has the best game of any Bears quarterback in history, throwing 6 touchdowns as the Bears demolish Tampa Bay 48-10.
7. Indianapolis Colts (5-2, LW 8): November 25, 1962. The Chicago Bears defeat the Baltimore Colts 57-0.
6. Seattle Seahawks (6-1, LW 7): January 14, 2007. Robbie Gould hits a 49 yard field goal to send the Bears to the NFC Championship Game.
5. Arizona Cardinals (5-2, LW 6): October 16, 2006. “THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!”
4. Baltimore Ravens (5-2, LW 3): November 17, 2013. A rain delay, and then the team from Chicago wins in an extra session.
3. New Orleans Saints (5-2, LW 4): January 21, 2007. The Bears demolish the Saints 39-14, including 21 points in the 4th quarter, en route to the Super Bowl. That’s as much as needs to be told of those playoffs.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (7-1, LW 2): September 12, 1999. The Bears nearly blow their lead, take advantage of the new instant replay, and hold on to a 20-17 win.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-0, LW 1): September 24, 2017. The Steelers force OT, but the Bears run the ball in (twice) to win the game.