Entering the season, the Chicago Bears were written off as one of the worst teams in the NFL. Many people predicted them to struggle throughout the season, not getting many wins.
However, after a big win to start the season against the San Francisco 49ers, things might be looking up for the Bears.
The Bears have only two winning seasons since 2012, making the playoffs twice and winning the NFC North once. However, through three weeks, the Bears are 2-1 and could cause trouble in the NFC North.
This season should be a rebuilding year for Chicago, and though it’s very early, the Bears’ solid start says otherwise. Chicago could find itself in the playoff hunt with a young and hungry roster. It’s safe to say the team’s odds to make the playoffs have increased since the preseason.
How Chicago Can Make the Postseason
Let’s start by saying the Chicago Bears will not win the NFC North. The division is tough this year and will likely be won by the Green Bay Packers or Minnesota Vikings. However, the Bears could sneak in as a Wild Card team.
Even though the Bears have been viewed as NFL bottom feeders, they have made the playoffs twice in the past four years and won the division in 2018, making them must-watch football. With the Matt Nagy era over, the Matt Eberflus era of Bears football has started on the right foot.
In a monsoon game to start the season, Justin Fields played decently well, throwing for 121 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. However, he’s struggled overall in his second year, combining for just 176 yards, three interceptions, and three fumbles.
While Fields has struggled, he also doesn’t have the best wide receiver room, with his top targets being Darnell Mooney, Equanimeous St. Brown, Dante Pettis, and Cole Kmet. They all have potential, but it hasn’t come to fruition yet. The team also doesn’t believe in Fields throwing the ball, as he has a league-low 45 passing attempts.
Chicago has had to pick up the offensive slack on the ground with David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert. Montgomery had a solid showing in Week 2 with 15 carries for 122 yards and was gearing up for another big game in Week 3 before leaving with an injury. Herbert stepped in and had 20 carries for 157 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
The Bears shine defensively, as they’ve been a top-10 unit in the NFL, and their defense has kept them close in games. Led by Roquan Smith and Eddie Jackson, the Bears rank seventh in takeaways, 10th in passing yards allowed, and ninth in interceptions. Chicago also has six sacks and has only blitzed on 1% of QB dropbacks. Smith currently leads the league in combined tackles and assists on tackles, while Jackson is tied for second in interceptions with two.
What will help the Bears’ potential playoff bid is the fact that the rest of the NFC has struggled to win games. The best division in the conference is the NFC North, as they have three teams with two wins. Even the Detroit Lions have been competitive.
The rest of the NFC has a lot of question marks, as the Bears will be competing with whichever team comes in second in the NFC East and potentially the second-place team in the NFC West. Other teams not playing to full potential and injuries have also helped Chicago’s cause.
Chicago definitely has the recipe to succeed this year. It doesn’t hurt that things have been going their way early on, while the same can’t be said for some other NFC teams. Their roster has potential across the board, from putting up big numbers on offense to shutting teams down on defense.
If they can put it all together, the Bears can lock in a playoff spot in 2022.
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