Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/15/14

CHICAGO - DECEMBER 28: Quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears looks to pass against the Minnesota Vikings in the first half at Soldier Field on December 28, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Just when everyone was starting to hit the panic button in Chicago, the Bears beat the Minnesota Vikings convincingly on Sunday.  In the Bears eight wins they have looked like they could make a run at the Super Bowl, and in their three losses (all against elite teams) they have looked utterly overmatched.  As hard as it may be for Bears fans to believe given the collection of talent in Chicago, all signs point to the 2012 Chicago Bears being a good football team, not a great one. The win Sunday was evidence of the immeasurable impact that Jay Cutler has on the Bears.  Cutler looked sharp, fitting a lot of throws into extremely tight coverage.  But although Cutler had a solid performance, he was still forced to make a lot of his throws while running away from defenders outside of the pocket due to somewhat spotty offensive line play. It is clear that this year the Chicago Bears offense can only go as far as the offensive line will take them.  The already struggling offensive line suffered a key loss Sunday when guard Lance Louis went down after a vicious hit by the Vikings Jared Allen.  It will be extremely difficult for the offensive line moving forward if they are forced to play out of position or play inexperienced players in order to replace injured players since the line is one of the weakest in the league to begin with. Lance Louis was not the only Chicago Bears player to leave Sunday’s game with an injury.  Five of Louis’ teammates were also injured, including running back Matt Forte, wide receiver Devin Hester and cornerback Charles Tillman.  Tillman’s injury is not expected to be serious, which is great news to the Bears because he has been their best defensive player all year.  As for Forte and Hester, the severity of their injuries is unclear. If either player, especially Forte because of his key role in the offense, were to miss extended time it would have a devastating effect on the team, similar to the one experienced in the absence of Jay Cutler.  Without Forte, the Bears lack an explosive player who can help the offense move the ball against great defenses, which has been a problem for them already this year. This struggle with elite opponents, specifically elite defenses, is the biggest reason for me saying that the 2012 Chicago Bears are not a great team. In the NFL, you have to beat the best to be the best, and so far this season the Bears have not beaten the best.  The Bears have been the ultimate “win the games you’re expected to win” team this year.  Out of their eight wins, only the Colts and Vikings don’t have losing records. What this means for the Bears is that they need to start putting together better performances against playoff caliber teams if they hope to win games in the playoffs, because once you get into the playoffs there’s no such thing as an easy win. These concerns about the Bears are not guarantees that they cannot get to the playoffs and be successful, but rather observations based off of the Bears play through their first 11 games.  There is no doubt that the Bears have the players to make a deep run into the playoffs, but the question is, can they play up to their potential down the stretch?  This question will be answered in the coming weeks, starting with a tough match-up this Sunday at Soldier Field against the Seattle Seahawks.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Michael Vick has almost paid off all his massive debt

Russell Wilson changes agents ahead of big payday

Dolphins CB: Brady needs to 'wake up' about playing into 40s

Bears to bench Jay Cutler, start Jimmy Clausen

Wes Welker once pulled funny UGG prank on Tom Brady

Wil Myers heads to Padres in 11-player, 3-team trade

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Bo Pelini calls Nebraska AD a ‘c–t’ and ‘p-ssy’

49ers release Ray McDonald

Take your pick: Colin Kaepernick or Derek Carr

Reports: Michigan makes huge offer to Harbaugh

Heat lose a key player with McRoberts out for rest of season

Belichick: Ryan is 'buttering me up' with Hall of Fame praise

Darrelle Revis feels sad for Rex Ryan

Five reasons why Oregon will win College Football Playoff

Biggest winners of the MLB offseason so far

Report: Celtics in serious trade talks involving Rondo

WATCH: Brandon Jennings makes mind-boggling play

WATCH: Drake intros Raptors on 'Drake Night'

Brian Billick owns Browns fan over Johnny Manziel criticism

WATCH: Did Flyers' Giroux wipe boogers on linesman’s back?

Royals sign Edinson Volquez to 2-year deal

12 candidates to replace Paul Chryst at Pitt

Brad Halsey claimed he was on cocaine for Bonds record HR

Wade Miley confident in health, diet after trade from D-Backs

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Michael Vick nearly debt-free

Dolphins CB rips Brady's career plans

Biggest winners of the MLB offseason

Brian Billick owns Browns fan

C's in serious trade talks about Rondo

Pelini has profane words for Nebraska AD

When bowl results mean more for one school than another

Four can't-miss match-ups in NFL's Week 16

RG3 quits social media for season

Each NFL division’s MVP

Five NFLers who must step up in Week 16

Most impressive college hoops teams

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.