Despite a 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday Night Football, the Chicago Bears are still in great shape for the rest of the season with a record of 7-2. They're still one game up on the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North, and if the playoffs ended today would have a first-round bye.
But the reason for Chicago's success has mainly come on defense. The Bears defense has continued to dominate, as they're ranked sixth in yards allowed, and second in points allowed per game.
The problem is the Bears' offense tends to disappear. Their disappearance against Houston is one that anyone could see after losing Jay Cutler, but even with Cutler in the game the Bears offense had trouble moving the ball and committed four turnovers.
This game was a lot like Chicago's other loss in Week 2 to the Green Bay Packers. In that game the Bears offense would turn the ball over four times en route to a 23-10 loss.
Since then Chicago has had two things going for it: a soft schedule and a defense that created plays. Their schedule will only get tougher from here thanks to two games against the Minnesota Vikings, a trip to San Francisco to face the 49ers and one more matchup with the Green Bay Packers.
They're done facing the AFC South, a division the Bears wound up going 3-1 against, losing only to the Texans, the AFC South's top team.
The Bears offense will have to step up. With the possibility of Jay Cutler being out, this will be a lot more difficult. They will have to rely on Matt Forte and Michael Bush out of the backfield. The Bears can win this way, but they need help from defense and special teams if they're going to continue to turn in such poor offensive performances.
They certainly can not win the Super Bowl that way. On Sunday night they saw what they would possibly be up against if they do make it to New Orleans. Chicago's defense held its own, but the offense could only muster six points.
Does Chicago have enough offense to win the Super Bowl?
The route to New Orleans can still go through Chicago, who remains only one game back of Atlanta for home-field advantage in the NFC. But to catch up with Atlanta, Chicago needs to score. They can't pray for the defense to help score like they did against Houston.
For that would be the recipe for an early exit come playoff time, or even the chance that they don't even get there.