Bears can be ordinary and still make playoffs in weak NFC
Bears can be ordinary and still make playoffs in weak NFC
Despite a disappointing loss at home to a mediocre opponent Sunday, a defeat that further exposed their offensive line as a weakness, the Bears still have an excellent chance to make the playoffs, just like almost every team in the conference.
Every team in the NFC has at least two losses. The Bears (4-2) are tied for the best record with four other teams, all of which have, at times, looked as beatable as the Bears did on Sunday.
This isn't parity; it's mediocrity. There aren't any great teams; there might not even be any really good teams. And the Bears are just as mediocre as anyone else.
There are seven NFC teams with two losses, but that includes the Arizona Cardinals (3-2), who have been outscored by 50 points, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2), who have been outscored by 30.
It's possible that six teams from the AFC the Steelers, Ravens, Jets, Patriots, Colts and Titans are better than the best team from the NFC.
That doesn't mean that one or more dominant teams won't emerge from the NFC by the end of the season, but none of the preseason favorites have given any indication that they're capable of living up to expectations.
The defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, who averaged 32 points per game in 2009, are averaging less than 22. They should get their top two running backs, Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush, back in the next couple of weeks, but the Saints weren't playing well earlier in the year when both of them were healthy.
The Cowboys were a popular pick to play for the Super Bowl in their home stadium but, at 1-4, they're on the verge of elimination and could be out of the running by Thanksgiving. They're in the cellar of the NFC East, which could be the top division in the conference.
The Eagles and Giants are tied at 4-2, but Philly could be without its best player, wide receiver DeSean Jackson, for a couple of weeks or more after he suffered a severe concussion Sunday. The Giants have been impressive lately, winning three straight, but they lost to the Colts by 24 and the Titans by 19.
The Packers (3-3) and Vikings (2-3) both were popular Super Bowl picks but have struggled in the early going. Even better for the Bears is that their two toughest division foes play each other Sunday night. The loser will have some catching up to do, especially if the Bears can cobble together an offensive line capable of helping them defeat the Redskins at Soldier Field on Sunday.
But, even if they lose to the Redskins and then defeat the winless Bills in Toronto after their off-week, the Bears would be 5-3 and, at worst, tied for the lead in the NFC North.
The Packers have lost three of their last four games, including back-to-back overtime defeats. They have been hit harder by injuries to key players than any team in the NFL, and their upcoming schedule is a killer. After hosting the Vikings, they play on the road against the Jets (5-1), at home against the Cowboys and then at Minnesota and at Atlanta (4-2).
The Vikings don't have the same Brett Favre at quarterback that they did last year, when he put up career numbers and didn't have tendinitis in his throwing elbow and off-the-field distractions. After Sunday night in Green Bay they head right back on the road to face the Patriots (4-1).
In the NFC, it might not take much more than an ordinary performance to get to the playoffs, and the Bears are capable of that.
Ÿ Follow Bob LeGere's Bears reports via Twitter@BobLeGere. Check out his blog, Bear Essentials, at DailyHerald.com
New York Giants 4-2
Philadelphia Eagles 4-2
Atlanta Falcons 4-2
New Orleans Saints 4-2
Tampa Bay Bucs 3-2
Arizona Cardinals 3-2
Seattle Seahawks 3-2
Green Bay Packers 3-3
Washington Redskins 3-3
St. Louis Rams 3-3
Minnesota Vikings 2-3
Bears’ Smith remains confident
By TOM MUSICK -
LAKE FOREST – Bears coach Lovie Smith braced himself for a long set of questions Monday after players and coaches watched film of the team’s 23-20 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Why did the Bears’ offensive line allow six sacks? Why did Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz order 12 handoffs and 41 pass plays with a recently concussed quarterback?
Smith offered another statistic for any reporter who veered negative. He answered every question in a slow Texas drawl and showed no expression with his trademark stoicism.
“We all had a part in what happened yesterday,” Smith said, staring down a reporter who asked about breakdowns on the line. “And we’ll continue to fix it with our 4-2 record.”
It might sound like a broken record, but it’s also a first-place record.
Six weeks into the season, the Bears continue to walk a tightrope between success and failure. Smith’s team owns a one-game lead over Green Bay in the NFC North and is tied for the best record in the conference, yet significant flaws have emerged through six weeks.
Those flaws were on display Sunday as the Bears lost to the Seahawks at Soldier Field. Until this weekend, the Seahawks had won one of their previous 11 road games.
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler completed 43.6 percent of his passes and was dumped six times, including once in the end zone. Running back Matt Forte found the end zone for a first-quarter touchdown, but he averaged 1.4 yards a carry for his worst output of the season.
Smith described his team’s necessary improvements as if he were reading from a grocery list.
“Getting rid of the ball,” Smith said. “Blocking better. Everyone involved – offensive line, tight ends, running backs – it’s an accumulation of a lot of things.
“Receivers running the routes a little bit better. Us making better calls. We’re going to say that it’s all of the above right now. We’re going to continue to work to fix it.”
It’s one thing to make a promise but another thing to deliver on it. The Bears rolled out their fourth offensive line combination in six weeks by starting Frank Omiyale at left tackle, Chris Williams at left guard, Olin Kreutz at center, Edwin Williams at right guard and rookie J’Marcus Webb at right tackle. That combination is expected to start again next week.
Smith was asked how he expected to win with a line that has allowed a league-leading 27 sacks through six games. No other team in the NFL has allowed more than 20 sacks.
“You mean, the four wins that we have with this offensive line?” Smith said. “That is what convinces me. We’ve won four games with this offensive line.”
Again, Smith wrestled his questioner to a statistical standstill. Despite the Bears’ problems on offense, it is impossible to argue the team’s place atop a winnable division.
In the past 25 years, the Bears have started 4-2 or better on 11 occasions.
On eight of those 11 occasions, the Bears have gone on to win at least 10 games in the regular season. One nine of those 11 occasions, they have gone on to reach the playoffs.
Smith expressed confidence that his offensive line could continue the winning trend.
“There are a lot of things that we need to work on, which most teams need to work on this time of the year,” Smith said. “We haven’t peaked yet, but we’ll be a little bit closer to where we need to be after this week.”
With a lot of help, a little luck, and a nuclear bomb set off in 3 NFL cities, the Bears can aspire to be ordinary. No matter how good the other 2 phases of the team are, the offense is built on a foundation of tissue paper. To help "shore that up" the brain trust does witty things like playing their starting LT at LG to "preserve the continuity" of a failing backup at LT, and playing their pass catching TE at LT to "trick everyone" and run right behind him.
Originally Posted by dabears54
Winston Churchill: "Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak."
"If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain."
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and yet they have a 2 game lead in the division in 2010( 1 and the tiebreaker) and more wins over the last 5 years than any team in the divsion( bears 52 wins, minny 47, packers 45) and W's are what matter ,right? or is that "different" when bears have more? .. So either the other teams front office must be beyond horrid.. or maybe just maybe they are just 'slightly" better than given credit or not as bumbling as some say?
Originally Posted by BearStuff
Just a thought...
One Team. One City. Very Ordinary.
Bears can take control of division with win Sunday
By John Mullin
At 4-2 the Bears are right in the flow of an NFC in which every team has at least two losses and five are 4-2. Bears still can take significant control of the division with a win over Washington as either Green Bay or Minnesota will leave next weekend with four losses.
W 19-14 Sept. 12 vs. Detroit Lions (1-5)
Bears survive four turnovers and red-zone failures to escape with a “W” after officials rule Calvin Johnson did not complete a potential winning TD catch. Jay Cutler passes for 372 yards, Matt Forte nets 201 yards on 24 touches.
W 27-20 Sept. 19 At Dallas Cowboys (1-4)
Cutler’s zero INT’s plus in-game adjustments to Dallas pressure produced TD passes to Devin Hester, Greg Olsen and Matt Forte. Physical defense forced three Cowboys turnovers, all involving nickel back D.J. Moore who gets his first two career picks.
W 20-17 Sept. 27 (Mon.) Green Bay Packers (3-3)
Nothing like a truly “pivotal game” just three weeks into a season. The winner gets the first tiebreak edge and the Bears have a chance to go 3-0 in the NFC. All games are statement games – this one comes with an exclamation point.
L 3-17 Oct. 3 At New York Giants (4-2)
The missing pass rush returned to get Jay Cutler and vault the Giants squarely back in the midst of a very tight NFC East race among non-exceptional teams. Jay Cutler was sacked nine times and left at halftime with a concussion that ruled out realistic chances for a comeback.
W 23-6 Oct. 10 At Carolina Panthers (0-5)
A horrendous, four-interception performance by Todd Collins was offset by 218 rushing yards, 166 by Matt Forte who scored twice, and the defense shutting down the Panthers with 147 yards. Bears finally exploded in a first quarter and stayed with a run commitment with changes in the OL.
L 23-20 Oct. 17 Seattle Seahawks (3-2)
Seattle bumbled to three points in a loss to St. Louis, then came in from the week off to handle the Bears everywhere but special teams. Bears play calling (12 runs, 47 pass plays) becoming an issue as Cutler was sacked six times and Bears rarely got close to laying a hand on Matt Hasselbeck.
Oct. 24 Washington Redskins (3-3) Next: vs. BEARS
Washington gave up 469 yards and could not turn uncharacteristic Indianapolis turnovers into enough points and lost by three at home to the Colts. Joseph Addai rushed for 128 yards against a Redskins defense without Albert Haynesworth.
Oct. 31 Off week
Nov.7 At Buffalo Bills (0-5), Toronto Next: at Baltimore
Buffalo needed the week off after blowing two 10-point leads in come-from-ahead loss to the Jags. Bills defense has allowed 30 or more points in four straight for the first time in franchise history. Things not likely to improve this week.
Nov. 14 Minnesota Vikings (2-3) Next: at Green Bay
Brett Favre had another very mediocre day as the Vikings survived with special-teams help from Percy Harvin after Favre again did not make anything out of having Randy Moss to throw to. Being at the Packers is a chance to take an important step up for the Vikings who can’t seem to establish momentum.
Nov. 18 At Miami Dolphins (3-2) Next: vs. Pittsburgh
The Dolphins got past Green Bay in OT but will need to show more against one of their chief rivals in the AFC. But Miami is running the ball with Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown and is building after a sluggish start this season.
Nov. 28 Philadelphia Eagles (4-2) Next: at Tennessee
Eagles looked strong in a win over Atlanta with Kevin Kolb throwing for 326 yards and 3 TD’s. Kolb has thrown for 300 yards three times in his first five games and Philadelphia also ran the ball 38 times for 154 yards.
Dec. 5 at Detroit Lions (1-5) Next: off
Playing the Giants in New Jersey was a tough assignment and the Lions stayed within one score even while losing their 24th straight road game. Detroit trailed by four with five minutes to play and had the ball but turned the ball over to lose a chance to upset one of the NFC’s leaders.
Dec. 12 New England Patriots (4-1) Next: at San Diego
Beating Baltimore was a big AFC statement, coming from 10 points down to win in OT. Patriots rushed for 127 yards against Ray Lewis and associates and WR Deion Branch’s reunion with Tom Brady (nine catches) left the question, “Randy Who?”
Dec. 20 At Minnesota Vikings (2-3) Next: at Green Bay
Dec. 26 New York Jets (5-1) Next: off
Winning at Denver was a strong effort, albeit with a close pass-interference call on the Broncos in the closing stretch. LaDanian Tomlinson is on a mission as the Jets have won five straight and now have a week to rest and re-focus.
Jan. 2 at Green Bay Packers (3-3) Next: vs. Minnesota
Two straight OT losses for the Packers who have to be feeling snake-bitten after one of three 23-20 games Sunday. Green Bay injuries continue to mount and have taken Green Bay from division favorite to underdog.
To me this is the key in 2010.. as Many of us expected before the year began, it was going to be alot of parity and all 32 teams had their knocks and problems to deal with..
WHY NOT THE BEARS?
its almost like despite being in first, tied for best record in the NFC, people would rather tear down everything, Not give any credit, or ENJOY the season and well likely winning the division. and leading now.
And instead say "WHY THE BEARS? WE SUCK!"
we have more Suck and negativity than the 2-3 vikes or 3-3 packers and that is kinda crazy, imo. Do we have problems?? OH YEAH, the oline needs a huge improvement, cutler needs to see the field better and not hold the ball so long, the Rb's need better Communication.. BUT we ALSO have some very good "D" and St play that seems to get buried. and the other teams even deeper problems just glossed over.
Just think , esp in a year that has shon All teasm in the NFC have problems and def off weeks, why not the bears?
I figure just get to the playoffs, anything can happen once you get there. Plus I really want to win the NFC North so all the viking and packer fans can shutup for a while :)
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Originally Posted by JustWinBaby
One step at a time.. win the division fist .. then you never know.. ask the cardinals, steelers, giants about how "medicore" season's can be turned in a deep playoff run or Sb Win no one expected.. at the mid season or even before playoff started
Im just happy they are 4-2. But I will always be pissed that the FO has no idea of what balance is. The defense gets all the attention while the offense suffers for it. There was no point on getting a franchise qb if this was the plan on what to give him as an oline and wrs.
you want to see a balanced team look at what the Ravens and Jets did. They pay attention to all three phases of the game. Jets gave their qb 3 real wrs and a rb and an oline and didnt sacrifice the D doing it. Ravens same exact thing. Now that is a REAL FO
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