After an off year it may surprise you to know who the current second seed in the NFC is right now. Let alone the leader of the NFC North. The Bears are back. With the Packers’ blowout loss to the Bucs, who the Bears beat a week ago, Chicago took the division lead. And yet if you asked people to name the five teams with 5 wins so far this season, the Bears would probably be the least likely answer. This is a talented team, it’s less than two years since Chicago were the third seed in the NFC playoffs.
What’s more, of the five-win teams, only Seattle have a strength of schedule as tough as Chicago. The Bears’ and Seahawks’ opponents have 11 wins, Steelers’ and Titans’ 9 and the Ravens’ opponents’ only 7. Despite beating quality opposition, Chicago are not getting the credit.
Who needs a franchise QB?
One element around it could be the QB play. We all know that Mitch Trubisky got benched but Nick Foles has hardly lit up the field since coming in. Since coming in Foles has 6 TDs, 4 interceptions and only 220 yards per game. And yet, the Bears are 2-1 in games he’s started, one fewer win than Mitch Trubisky, even if wins aren’t a quarterback stat. Foles’ personal stats are solid too: 2 TDs a game and a completion percentage of 62.5%. Even as a Super Bowl MVP, Foles lacks the pizzazz to be a superstar.
Maybe that is the problem, the Bears lack a true superstar or highlight moment. They have the fifth fewest yards per game, and they allow seventh fewest yards per game. Even then though, Chicago are 10th against the pass and 15th against the run. They are even average in terms of turnovers (8), ranking 13th in the league. Even the Jets have more turnovers!
What’s the Bear’s identity?
It’s almost as if, beyond the seventh overall defence, the Bears lack an identity. Ultimately the formula is working though. The Bears get teams off the field, with the second-best defensive 3rd down efficiency (31.8%), and the sixth best scoring defence. It may not be flashy, but it is effective.
Time will tell if the Bears can maintain the run that they are on but it has given them a great platform to compete at the sharp end in December.