After the bye-week the Bears sit alone in first place at 4-1 a half game up on the Minnesota Vikings. The Bears have three winnable games ahead before they get into the toughest part of their schedule. From week 10 to the end of the season the only team on the schedule without a winning record is the Detroit Lions.
The Bears needs to beat Detroit at home and then win their next two versus the Panthers (1-4) and Titans (2-4). That leads the Bears into their showdown with the one loss Houston Texans. If the Bears lose a game between now and Houston it would be an outrage and begin to dampen expectations of what this season should be.
The balance the Bears have on offense is there, and there is no excuse. This is one of the best teams in the NFL and their record needs to reflect that. When the Bears play up to expectations they have more balance on offense and an elite defense that should lead them to one of the best records in the NFL.+
If the Bears are going to lose any more games this season the only teams capable of beating the Bears when they bring their A-game is the Texans and 49ers in back to back weeks. After that the Bears should win each and every game remaining on the schedule due to the lack of balance each team has.
At worst the Bears should finish the season at 12-4 although 14-2 is a distinct possibility. The Packers appeared to have righted the ship last night by thumping the Houston Texans, and could be poised to make a playoff run. The Bears need to prove they are a Super Bowl worthy team by beating their arch-nemesis and doing so at home builds upon home field advantage.
Should this team be considered among the elite in the NFL? The Bears need to beat teams that are fringe playoff competitors, teams struggling to find that complete balance the Bears have. Teams that have glaring weaknesses the Cardinals and their QB situation, the Seahawks and rookie QB Russell Wilson, the Lions and their offensive line and secondary and the Vikings and their one-dimensional offense.
These are the teams the 11-4 in their last 15 games with Jay Cutler starting Chicago Bears should beat. The Packers the the Texans and 49ers are the teams the Bears need to beat to prove that they are serious contenders for a Super Bowl title once the snow starts to fall.
The path to January is clear, the legitimacy of this team will be tested and if the Chicago Bears play up to their capabilities on a week to week basis no one should stand in their way. Legitimately there is only one team that can beat the Chicago Bears, and this team should not beat themselves.