The Bears have a first-round bye thanks to a surprising, no, shocking performance by the Minnesota Vikings against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles were two-touchdown favorites to win the game, yet the Vikings nearly beat them by that much.
Larry Mayer has posted an article at the Chicago Bears’ website titled “Eagles loss enables Bears to clinch first-round bye.”
The Bears did their job on Sunday by beating the New York Jets 38-34. I don’t believe anyone expected the Vikings to be able to upset the Eagles, but Joe Webb was almost a mirror image of Michael Vick, running and passing the ball like he was a veteran.
Vick, on the other hand, was constantly being harassed and taken to the ground, hard. By the end of the game, he was noticeably limping.
We have to begin to consider the Bears as a real contender for the NFC crown. In watching all the teams, I have seen obvious weaknesses with the exception of one.
The Falcons, Saints, Eagles and whatever NFC West teams you care to throw in the mix have shown weaknesses. The team that really worries me right now is the Green Bay Packers.
It is true that the Giants are not playing good ball right now, so perhaps I am reading too much into the Packers’ win last Sunday. However, they looked pretty good. Of course, the Eagles looked pretty good against the Giants as well, and we saw what happened to them.
The Bears have not been a steamroller like the 1985 Super Bowl winners were. For the most part, they have done what they needed to do to win. However, they have the tools to move forward. We have an ever-improving offensive line, a good front four on defense and a pass defense that comes through when it must and most importantly a very good kicker, as well as an outstanding special teams group.
The Bears have been a little lucky this year with the play of other teams beating who the Bears needed them to beat. The Lions took down the Packers, for example.
The Bears as of this moment will play starters next Sunday in hopes of securing the Number One seed. However, they play late. If the Falcons beat the Panthers or the Saints beat the Bucs, then I have to wonder if the Bears would play their starters-it would seem foolish to risk having someone hurt. On the other hand, if the Bears don’t play their starters, they are letting Green Bay walk into the playoffs.
We won’t know until Sunday afternoon what the Bears will do.
Chicago Bears Website, Larry Mayer, “Eagles loss enables Bears to clinch first-round bye”