Muller: Winning Is Fun… But Are The Bears For Real?
By Shawn Muller–
The month of November was a VERY good month to the Chicago Bears. The 31-26 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday at Soldier Field capped off an undefeated (4-0) month for Chicago. The November winning streak for the Bears marks the first time the team has won at least four straight contests since the 2006 Super Bowl season (Chicago won 4 or more games twice that year). Couple the Bears win with the Packers loss to the Atlanta Falcons, yesterday, and Chicago finds itself sitting alone at the top of the NFC North Division with just five weeks remaining in the regular season.
As the calendar turns to December and teams are jockeying for playoff positions, the Bears should have no problem extending their winning streak to five straight in week 13 as the team travels to Detroit to square off against the hapless Lions (2-9) at Ford Field.
While the winning streak for the Bears has been impressive, what has it really taught us about the team? The combined record of Bears opponents in the month of November was 19-25. Add a likely win against Detroit, and the Bears will have won five straight against teams with a combined record of 21-34. Not exactly a murderer’s row of opponents.
Are the Bears a legit playoff team? It sure looks like it right now. I don’t see any reason to believe otherwise. Good teams beat the teams they are supposed to beat. And the Bears are doing just that. But how good is Chicago really? I don’t think anyone can say they know for sure. On the season, the Bears have just three wins over teams with a winning record (Green Bay, Miami, and Philadelphia). You can only play the teams that are on your schedule, and you cannot fault the Bears for their opponent’s woes. It’s not Chicago’s fault that teams such as Dallas and Minnesota (to name a few) have been major disappointments this season. Though we may not know just what we have with the Bears now, we will surely know what we have during the final four weeks of the Bears 2010 season. The final four games should tell Bears fans all they need to know in determining whether their team is a “contender” or a “pretender.”
In the final four weeks of the regular season, the Bears host New England, travel to Minnesota, host the New York Jets, and finish up on the road at Green Bay on January 2nd. Those four games could be the determining force that decides if Chicago is a threat come playoff time. If the Bears manage to earn a split (at the very least) in their final four contests, there will be no doubt in my mind that they have the goods to make a serious run at the Lombardi Trophy at Cowboys Stadium in Super Bowl XLV. Anything less than that (2-2) and I have serious doubts they are for real.
Chicago is playing its best football since the Super Bowl season of 2006. The fans have every right to be optimistic about another run to the Super Bowl and it is not as impossible to imagine today as it was when the 2010 season began. The season has been a lot of fun up to this point, but the optimism can turn into pessimism during those important four weeks. November was great, but December and January could be magical. Hold on tight and enjoy the ride.
Shawn Muller has lived in Chicago for 7 years. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and just recently received his certificate in radio broadcasting in October of 2010. Sports have always been a passion of Shawn’s. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, “Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” at www.blogtalkradio.com/spmuller24.