Wisch: Who Are The Bears? It Might Not Matter

By Dave Wischnowsky–

Last Sunday, after the Bears upended Philly, I was eating crow.

Seven days later, after watching them struggle to beat the better-but-still-bad Lions, I was about ready to cough it back up.

Who the heck are the 2010 Chicago Bears, anyway?

I don’t think Interpol could identify these guys.

I mean, here we are, in December, three-quarters of the way through the NFL regular season, and – in spite of a 9-3 record that has them perched atop the NFC North – I can honestly say that I still don’t know if the Bears are a good team.

Or if they’re not.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen an NFL team so difficult to peg after 12 games. But, no matter how shaky they look in many of their wins, there’s no arguing against their record: 9-3 which is an impressive ledger regardless of who you’re playing. And for the past five weeks the Bears have played – and beaten – every team they’ve faced.

On Sunday after they rallied to eke out a 24-20 victory at Ford Field, one of my friends described the Bears as “good, not great.” But in this year’s NFL, that just might be good enough.

Just last season, the Indianapolis Colts opened up the year 14-0, while New Orleans rattled off 13 straight victories to start. Throughout 2009, it was clear that the NFL had not just one juggernaut – a la the 18-0 Patriots of 2007 – but two. And both the Colts and the Saints went on to reach the Super Bowl.

This season, however, the NFL is a whole different animal.

A pretty lame one, it seems.

There are no true powerhouses. Heck, Kansas City was the league’s last unbeaten – way back when it was 3-0. The next week, the Chiefs lost in Indianapolis and the NFL was left without a 4-0 club for the first time since 1970.

The league just isn’t great in 2010. Heck, it might not even be good. But that fact that could very well allow the Bears to keep conjuring up victories deep into the playoffs.

This evening on Monday Night Football, the 9-2 Patriots and the 9-2 Jets – the two AFC squads among Chicago’s final four opponents – square off in New England. I suppose the Pats and Jets are more or less considered the NFL’s two best teams (Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Atlanta could also stake claims). But the thing is, I’d say they’re also good, not great.

Just like the Bears.

I’ve decided I’m at a point this season where nothing that the Bears do – win, lose, heck, even draw – over the final four weeks will surprise me. There’s no figuring this bunch out, so I’m not even going to try.

It’s easier to just sit back and watch things unfold.

Four seasons ago, during Chicago’s march to the Super Bowl, Arizona coach Dennis Green famously said, “The Bears are who we thought they were.”

This year, I don’t have a clue who I think they are.

But what I do think is that, this time, with the NFL’s mediocrity, it might not matter.

davewisch Wisch: Who Are The Bears? It Might Not Matter

Dave Wischnowsky

If nothing else, Dave Wischnowsky is an Illinois boy. Raised in Bourbonnais, educated at the University of Illinois and bred on sports in the Land of Lincoln, he now resides on Chicago’s North Side, just blocks from Wrigley Field. Formerly a reporter and blogger for the Chicago Tribune, Dave currently writes a syndicated column, The Wisch List, which you can check out via his blog at http://www.wischlist.com.

  • Greg

    Better question is, who are you?

  • Dave Wischnowsky

    Pleasure to make your acquaintance, too, Greg :)

  • Ed Deline's housekeeper, Sandra Burnhardt

    They still suck.

    Well maybe not horribly, but throughout this 9-3 campaign, they’ve mostly looked lucky.

  • Realist

    The Bears have only beten two teams with a winning record. They have benefitted greatly from a weak schedule. They have had road games against Carolina, Buffalo and a Miami team with a third string QB, while the Packers have road games against Philly, the Jets, Atlanta and soon New England. I do not anticipate them winning against New England, the Jets or the Packers at Lambeau (and possibly not even a re-energized Vikings team) but stranger things have happened. If the Bears do make the playoffs they are going to have to go on the road and they will lose to elite teams then.

  • Tom

    You whinners sound like a bunch of Cub fans. Losers. Why don’t you find another team to complain about and leave the Bears. The Bears are 9-3! Get over it

  • Jeremy Carlson

    Hey Realist….

    Who says they have to go on the road? They are in the driver seat right now of getting a bye the first week in the playoffs, and only having to go on the road to ATL for the NFC Championship game, should the stars align. Will it be easy to get there? Absolutely not. But is it possible? Without a doubt. I figure if they win against either the Pats or the Jets, and Beat the Vikes (so 2-1 before they go to Lambeau), that regardless of what happens in that game, the Bears will win the division.

  • The Giant Squid That Ate Casey Manning in Season 4

    Let’s face it, the Bears are priming us all for one big let down. Cutler needs about 30 seconds to find a receiver and there’s not an O-Line in the league that can hold for that long. The defense, about what’s been keeping them in games, looked shaky against a not-so-great Lions team.

    We’ve been down this road before and I’m not falling for it again. Go Bears, though.

  • Bourbonrich

    You do look like your Dad. Don’t see it as much in the Daily Journal picture. I agree that consistency is not a word used with this team.

  • Dave Wischnowsky

    I’m still plenty skeptical about this team’s prospects in the coming weeks, but I’m also no longer willing to say they can’t win big games, either. I really have no idea what to expect from here on out, but I don’t think any of the games will be easy.

    And, thanks, Rich. Looking like my Dad is a great compliment :)

  • Bourbonrich

    I met him on election day and we talked about his baseball career after his name was in the Journal. I can’t imagine the Bears going 4 and 0 but I can imagine them going 0 and 4. Hard to imagine they should be 11 and 1 with the losses to the Skins and Seattle.

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