To win divisions in the NFL, and playoff berths by extension, a team must win its divisional matchups. The Chicago Bears took one step closer to achieving those goals with a 34-22 victory over the Detroit Lions, snapping a 10-game division losing streak.
Sunday’s game in Orchard Park, New York was less a competition than it was a business trip for the Bears. The game had the feel of an organized scrimmage. The Bears were destined to leave New York as victors as long as they took care of business.
Sometimes football teams need a lightweight on their schedule to push around. A team that isn’t really going to beat them but will give them an opportunity to make things right, to cure what ails them. A sparring partner, if you will.
There wasn’t a single aspect at which the Bears excelled in Sunday’s 38-31 loss to the New England Patriots. All three phases faltered, as neither the offense, defense, nor special teams carried its weight in the defeat.
Fortunately for Matt Nagy, the Bears didn’t get blown out in Sunday’s 31-28 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins. But for a team that espouses legitimate playoff aspirations this season, they couldn’t have been less inspiring.
The Bears slightly increased their lead in the NFC North on Sunday. And they didn’t even have to suit up and play a game to do it.
Most of the talk leading up to Sunday’s game centered around a question about Tampa Bay’s quarterback situation.
Former Bears head coach Lovie Smith used to have goal for his defenses: win the turnover battle. Smith wanted at least three takeaways, and he offered some statistic -- of which I can’t remember -- that correlated with higher win percentage. Smith's defenses were annually at or near the top of the league in takeaways.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way for second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
It’s only been one-eighth of a regular season -- a nod to former Bears head coach Lovie Smith -- and yet the Khalil Mack trade is inarguably paying dividends for Bears general manager Ryan Pace and the Chicago Bears.