The Chicago Bears have become championship contenders in 2013. Why? Let us take a look at the past few Super Bowl champions.
What did the 2010 Green Bay Packers, 2011 New York Giants, and 2012 Baltimore Ravens have in common? They all went into the playoffs hot and brought a title back to their city.
The Bears can do the same for Chicago if the pieces fall into place.
The team on the lakefront has won two in a row. The next two opponents for the Bears could make the playoffs as well. First up, the Philadelphia Eagles don’t even need to win this week to keep their playoff aspirations alive. All Nick Foles and company need to do is go into Dallas in Week 17 and beat the Cowboys; however, maybe Philly beats the Bears this Sunday Night, and the Cowboys lose to the Redskins. If this happens, the Eagles will have clinched the division before their Week 17 matchup.
The final team the Bears face is, unfortunately, their longtime rival, the Green Bay Packers. If the Packers win out, they’re in the playoffs. So, they will have to beat the Steelers this week and win in Chicago in Week 17. If Rodgers is back by then, the Bears could be dealing with an even tougher matchup to potentially decide the division.
All of these scenarios might seem scary, but there’s no reason to fret if you’re a Bears fan.
The Bears offense, brought to you by Marc Trestman, has been without a doubt spectacular. Even with Cutler’s first half struggles last week against the Browns, he completed 9 of 12 passes with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Tell me that’s not impressive.
Matt Forte, who has been beyond great in his first go around with Trestman, ranks 3rd in rushing yards this season. He also has 66 receptions for 522 yards. You can’t go wrong with comparing him to Charlie Garner, who was a flat out stud under Trestman, in 2002 with the Oakland Raiders. That year, Garner piled up 962 yards on the ground and led all NFL running backs in receiving with 941 yards through the air. We can all assume that the coach knows what he is doing with his running backs.
Cutler has to be feeling as confident as ever, not only because of his tailback, but also with two of the best receivers in the game today. Alshon Jeffery, 1,265 yards and 7 touchdowns, and Brandon Marshall, 1,185 and 10 touchdowns, rank 7th and 9th in receiving yards. Remember who the Bears had at this position in 2006? Muhsin Muhammad, Bernard Berrian, Rashied Davis, and Mark Bradley were running routes for Rex Grossman. Yeah, I don’t want to think about it anymore either.
Speaking of ’06, the Bears faced off against the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl. That year, before the playoffs began, the Colts were allowing 173 rushing yards per game, which was dead last in the NFL. Their passing defense wasn’t too shabby though, allowing 159.2 passing yards per game, good enough for 2nd best in the NFL.
The Colts defense turned it on in the playoffs. One of the obvious reasons was because their often injured safety, Bob Sanders, returned for their Super Bowl run. He was an inspiration to the defense, through his play and leadership.
The Bears defense this season is pretty comparable to what the Colts brought to the table, without Sanders. They allow 152.4 yards per game on the ground, which ranks 32nd in the NFL. On the other side of spectrum, the Bears passing defense, for the most part, has held up, allowing 228 yards passing per game, ranking 11th best.
There are many pessimists, who believe the Bears defense will hold them back from winning the division and beyond. However, Lance Briggs is expected to return this week versus the Eagles. I’m not going to say what kind of impact he will make, but it could be similar to what Sanders brought to Indy.
For once, I’m not worried about Cutler. This offense can matchup with any opponent in the NFL, including some tough potential teams in the playoffs. Hopefully with a few more turnovers, the defense will be good enough these next two weeks to win the NFC North. From there, the sky is the limit.
If the cards fall the Bears way, Cutler could be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy come February, as well as a brand new contract.