Despite the Bears’ loss to the Panthers on Sunday, they’ve remained firmly in the middle-to-top of the pack in most national power rankings. In fact, the Bears made a bigger jump between preseason rankings to Week 1 rankings, and less of a slide between Week 1 and Week 2.

Last week: 15
This week: 15
Explanation: There’s no shame in losing at Carolina on a 100-degree day. The Bears’ defense, at least, is for real. (KS)

Fox Sports
Last week: 13
This week: 13
Explanation: A running game and defense can keep you in the game, but to win the biggest games Chicago will need a true QB who can hit a pass longer than 10-15 yards. Consider this Kyle Orton’s tryout season, and with the Bears’ solid showing thus far he deserves the chance to establish himself as the starter beyond this season. Just don’t book him for ’09 yet.

Last week: 8
This week: 11
Explanation: Kyle Orton was “careful and controlled” against the Colts. OK, things were different against Carolina. A little boldness was called for. Sorry, not today. One first down in the last six possessions. Never crossed midfield. Next case.

CBS Sportsline
Last week: 8
This week: 14
Explanation: Passing-game limitations mean not enough scoring on offense. That will be a season-long problem. The margin for error is slim with their style.

Last week: 19
This week: 16
Explanation: How much better is Matt Forte than Cedric Benson?

USA Today
Last week: 16
This week: 17
Explanation: Two games, no picks from Kyle Orton. No TD passes either.