Spoiler Alert: The headline only readers are going to put something snappy in the comment section (either here or on social media) like this; ‘Yeah big deal, it was against a poopy team, let’s see how they do against Green Bay.’
To which I offer up a pre-emptive, “No s*** Sherlock,” even though the headline only readers won’t ever know it. But we’ll know...
The competition the Bears have played against these last few weeks hasn’t been very good, but you can only play the games the league places on your schedule, and good teams are supposed to beat bad teams.
And no, I’m not calling the Bears a good team yet so don’t get your underwear in a bunch over that one either, but these Bears certainly aren’t a bad team. At 8-7 I’d say they still fall into the category of middling, but with an offense showing life and with a defense that is still very talented, the Power Rankers are taking notice.
They haven’t moved the Bears up that much, but their comments have flipped from the negative snark we’ve gotten used to, to something a bit more respectful.
If the Bears beat the Packers — yes, that’s a big IF — then things could get really interesting when reading what the experts think next week.
But here’s how they see the Bears heading into their week 17 showdown with Green Bay.
- USA Today’s Touchdown Wire has the Bears up 2 spots to 13th overall.
Prior to Sunday’s games, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that due to a recent stretch of good play from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, the Chicago Bears were giving strong consideration to bringing the QB back next season. With wins over the Houston Texans and the Minnesota Vikings, the Bears were at .500 on the season entering Week 16. That, coupled with losses from the Vikings and the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday, meant the Bears’ slim playoff hopes were alive and ticking.
Trubisky perhaps rewarded that confidence with a strong performance on Sunday. In a big win over the Jacksonville Jaguars Trubisky completed 24 of 35 passes for 265 yards and a touchdown. While he did throw an interception, the third-straight win for Chicago kept their playoff hopes intact, and with a win next week over the Green Bay Packers, or a loss by Arizona, Chicago is in.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is this. Trubisky’s run of good play has come against the Texans, the Vikings and the Jaguars. Those are some of the worst defenses in the league. And when you dive into his game against Jacksonville, some of the reads, throws and decisions do not inspire a ton of confidence. But still, it could be enough to get Chicago into the dance.
- The USA Today agrees with the TD Wire and place the Bears 13.
13. Bears (16): So if they get into the playoffs, are they going to earmark an extension or franchise tag for unsigned QB Mitch Trubisky?
- Thirteen is also how Athlon Sports has it for Chicago.
13. Chicago Bears
Last week: 15
That six-game losing streak feels like a decade ago as the Bears have somehow wrestled back control of their postseason fate the last few weeks and may have secured another year for their often beleaguered head coach/QB combination at the same time.
- Here’s how the Sporting News sees it.
14. Chicago Bears 8-7 (15)
The Bears looked like they couldn’t recover from blowing their 5-1 start to become a playoff team, but then they made the decision to start Mitchell Trubisky again and it woke up David Montgomery and the rest of the offense working on a favorable closing schedule. Don’t forget the defense remains daunting, too.
- Pro Football Talk has it like this.
14. Bears (No. 15; 8-7): They’ve finally emerged from their extended midseason hibernation.
- Yahoo Sports also has the Bears at 14 this week.
14. Chicago Bears (8-7, LW: 15)
It is hard to gauge how good the Bears are right now. Their last win against a team that currently has a winning record was in Week 5 over Tampa Bay. That’s their only win over a good team all season. It’s OK to be excited about this late run, but also worried that the Bears are just catching a soft part of the schedule and this good finish will lead to false hope. It could mean another season for GM Ryan Pace, coach Matt Nagy and another deal for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Depending on how you feel about the long-term direction of the Bears, that might not be a good thing.
Yahoo also featured the Bears in their power ranking lead in this week, so check out the link about for more of their thoughts.
- Bleacher/Report has the Bears at 14 too.
Last Week: 16
Week 16 Result: Won 41-17 at Jacksonville
No team in the NFL has spent more time living in extremes this season than the Chicago Bears. There was the 5-1 start to the season. Then six straight losses. Then three straight victories—including a blowout win over the Jaguars on Sunday that leaves the Bears with a simple mission in Week 17.
Beat the Green Bay Packers, and it’s on to the playoffs.
The win marked Chicago’s fourth straight game with at least 30 points on offense. Outside of a terrible decision on a red-zone interception, Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky played well, throwing for 265 yards and two scores. Running back David Montgomery had another big game, tallying over 120 total yards and finding the end zone. And the Chicago defense once again did its part, allowing just 279 yards of total offense.
“In some ways, it’s fitting the Bears have to face the Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Week 17 with a playoff spot on the line,” Davenport said. “If Chicago can get past a Green Bay team that has dominated their rivalry in recent years, it will go a long way toward legitimizing the Bears as a team capable of making some noise in the postseason.”
- The Bears are up 2 spots according to ESPN.
15. Chicago Bears (8-7)
New Year’s resolution: Commit to the run earlier in the season
The Bears waited too long to commit to second-year running back David Montgomery. Montgomery did not touch the football nearly enough during Chicago’s six-game losing streak but has caught fire over the past month. Montgomery became the first Bears running back to score a touchdown in five consecutive games since Neal Anderson in 1991. The former third-round pick out of Iowa State has rushed for 95-plus yards in four of the past five games. There is nothing wrong with Montgomery. The Bears took a long time to realize that. — Jeff Dickerson
- NFL.com has the Bears up 1 spot to 15.
Call it a Christmas miracle: The Bears control their own destiny in the NFC playoff race after a 41-17 win over the Jaguars, Chicago’s third consecutive victory after a six-game losing streak that seemed to end their season. The Bears have scored 30-plus points in four consecutive games, the first time they’ve managed that feat since 1965. Stunning stuff, but now a dose of reality: The last three offensive explosions have come against some of the worst defenses in football. Are the Mitchell Trubisky-led Bears a playoff contender worth respecting ... or is this the 5-1 start all over again, a mirage that gives way to a cold truth when the competition improves? Speaking of improved competition, the Packers come to town this Sunday.
- CBS Sports is keeping the Bears at 15.
They need to beat the Packers this week to get into the playoffs. That won’t be easy, but they are playing well.
- Sports Illustrated is this weeks low end of the rankings.
17. Chicago Bears (8–7)
Huge bummer that the Seahawks’ win gave the Packers something to play against Chicago on Sunday. The Bears’ three-game winning streak has come thanks in part to games against Houston and Jacksonville, so let’s not go nuts, but it’s been a nice coda to Mitchell Trubisky’s Chicago tenure and—should they get into the tournament—this defense can make things interesting.
What are your thoughts on the power rankings this week?