The Chicago Bears have knocked off the Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers in back-to-back weeks, with the latter claiming the NFC North title.
But a week before, they lost to the New York Giants.
Clearly, the Bears are in the same company as the NFC’s elite teams, but how far can they really go?
The optimistic answer is simple: the Bears, given they largely dominated the Rams, can win the Super Bowl. However, the realistic answer is that they will probably exit the playoffs in the Divisional Round.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been a Bears fan my whole life. I’m a Mitchell Trubisky believer.
I love this team.
But the reason that the Bears won in Week 14 was that it was in Chicago; the weather, combined with the rambunctious fans, allowed the Bears to suffocate the Rams electrifying offense.
But with all this being said, I will provide two scenarios: the ideal scenario in which the Bears can win the Super Bowl, and also the scenario why they might suffer an early round exit from the playoffs.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) December 17, 2018
Super Bowl Bound
The Bears are 7-1 at home this season, with their one loss coming against the Patriots in which Kevin White was mere inches away from sending the game into overtime as the game clock hit zero. Two special teams blunders also helped the Patriots escape Chicago with a victory.
Other than that, the Bears have been great at making Soldier Field a nightmare for opposing teams.
Even though the Bears have lost a few “bad” games this year, they have led in the second half of every game. In every loss, there are positives that are being taken away. They are a dropped interception in Week One, a missed FG in OT in Miami, and the aforementioned loss to New England, from being 12-1. This Chicago Bears team does many things very well, but most importantly, they COMPETE.
The consensus is that the Bears’ defense is the best in the NFL. The stars of the defense show up when it truly matters, whether that results in sacking Jared Goff on a critical 4th down or an Eddie Jackson pick-6. The last thing that any team wants to play in January (and February) is a fast, hard-hitting defense in the cold. The Bears are this team that so many others fear.
On the offensive side of the ball, Mitch Trubisky, while has been a bit shaky this season, has shown flashes of greatness. However, for the Bears to make a run at the Super Bowl, Trubisky just needs to be good. If he can manage games similar to how Peyton Manning did for the Denver Broncos a few years ago, the defense can win him ballgames. All the Bears really need from Mitch is a few good drives and for him to avoid critical and irreversible mistakes.
In all, the Bears’ hopes for a Super Bowl run can best be seen in their #ClubDub videos posted by the Bears social media team after every win. The team is unified, with members of both offense and defense standing arm to arm. Coach Matt Nagy has himself a team that is fun, motivated, and, most of all, good. They may be young, but these Bears could take a path of destiny and bring home a Super Bowl title.
1st or 2nd Round Exit
The Bears are good, but are they ready for such a deep run?
Last year, we saw the Rams, an up-and-coming NFC team with a new coach and second-year quarterback win their division. That team went on to suffer a first-round exit at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons.
The Bears are also an up-and-coming NFC team with a new coach and a second-year quarterback, and will likely take the NFC North.
While it would be wrong to assume that because both of those things are true the Bears will suffer from an early-round exit, would it be unexpected? Probably not.
Many times this season, the Bears have won because of their defense, and in spite of Mitchell Trubisky. How much can we, the fans, trust the Bears to provide Trubisky the keys to win in a toxic road atmosphere such as New Orleans? The Bears flourish in the cold.
A favorite Chicago sports voice of mine, Barstool Big Cat, calls this phenomenon “bear weather”.
So what will happen if the Bears are taken out of their “element”? They are, as mentioned before, only a steady 3-3 on the road this season. Could their defense falter as it did in the second half against Green Bay, or like it did in Miami and New York? If so, it may be too much to ask a young quarterback like Trubisky to lead such a comeback.
If such things happen, the Bears will become victim to an early-round exit.
Don’t get me wrong, an early-round exit, in the grand scheme of things, would be considered a major success for this franchise at this point in time.
But it isn’t a Super Bowl title.