Jay Cutler’s 73.5 QBR trails only Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers. The wide receiver tandem of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery looks like one of the most potent one-two punches in the league. The offense (369 yards per game) may be just getting started as it continues to evolve under a new head coach and coordinator.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bears are turnover-generating machines—their 17 takeaways ties them with Seattle for the NFC lead. They also have one of the NFL's most reliable kickers in Robbie Gould, who is especially lethal from long range.
The Bears can’t tackle, and they can’t get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The problem may trace back to the injuries suffered by their starting defensive tackles, or perhaps the issue is simply an aging defense under a new system. Either way, the Bears defense, a strength for over a decade, has become a liability.
Another long-time strength, Chicago's special teams, has become a head-scratching weakness, as the coverage unit continues to give up big returns.
With the easy part of their schedule completed, the Bears have a tough road from here on out.
Three opponents stand out as very beatable—the Washington Redskins (Week 7), St. Louis Rams (Week 12) and Cleveland Browns (Week 15)—but all of those are road games. With two games still to play against Green Bay and no real gimmes, Chicago may top out at nine wins. That said, nine wins might be enough this year in the NFC.
For that reason, Chicago is a playoff CONTENDER.