After I wrote yesterday about how it appears to be the Houston Texans and everyone else in the AFC, over on the other side, the NFC is becoming a bloodbath. The Packers are still the Packers, Atlanta is undefeated, San Francisco has a defense that any team would be envious of and the Giants look every bit capable of repeating last season’s success.
But after improving to 5-1 last night, many are starting to ask why not the Bears?
Now, I’ll reference you to something I wrote back in July about how I thought the Bears would be much improved this year. I’ll even quote myself.
The Bears just might be the most well-rounded team in the division with having a good offense and a better defense. They aren’t going to wow anyone with their offensive production and Jay Cutler still makes a lot of mistakes trying to force things that aren’t there. But unlike the other two teams, his defense can bail him out of most of his mistakes.
So, don’t be surprised when they’re right there at the end of the season, fighting for the division crown.
This article was ridiculed mercilessly after the Bears embarrassing week 2 loss at Green Bay that saw Jay Cutler look more like Blaine Gabbert than a capable starting quarterback. But even Joe Montana had bad days. Now, I’m not much of a gloater, but I feel a slight bit of vindication here.
To me, it wasn’t hard to predict that a team with a top 5 caliber defense would be in every game. It also wasn’t hard to see that having a stud running back, a capable quarterback and a good set of receivers was going to be just the compliment that type of defense needed. Through six games, the Bears are good for sixth in the league in total defense at just 297 yards and 13 points allowed per game. And that 13 points per game is good for tops in the NFL.
On offense, if you find the end zone twice, you’re going to give this defense a good chance to win the game for you. And the offense is doing just that and more by putting up 27 per game. But the defense also needs some credit for that with their almost magical ability to turn the ball over this year. They’re +13 on takeaways this year with an amazing 21 so far. Most teams don’t get that in a year, much less through the first six games.
As you can see, with stats like that, it’s pretty difficult not to win games in bunches. But are we ready to call them the best in the NFC, or even the league? Some are reluctant to go there, and that seems to fall on the criticisms of Jay Cutler, who doesn’t seem to have many friends among the fans in the NFL. But with the stats and the record to back it up, it would be foolish to say they can’t at least be in the discussion. They have a better defense than Green Bay or Atlanta and an offense that is capable of supporting their play.
The Bears aren’t going to win many shootouts with the Packers or the Giants, but as they have shown the first six weeks of the 2012 season, with their defense, they don’t have to.
Filed under: Chicago Bears