Chicago Bears: 5 NFL Games to Pay Close Attention to During the Bye Week

Brett Lyons@@Brett__LyonsContributor IIIOctober 28, 2011

Chicago Bears: 5 NFL Games to Pay Close Attention to During the Bye Week

0 of 5

    While it may feel like the ideal opportunity to escape the Chicago Bears this weekend, fans would be crazy to not take this chance to scout around the league and not have to worry about missing a Jay Cutler interception or Roy Williams drop.

    There are five important games this weekend that fans can watch to help learn and prepare for what to expect in the upcoming weeks.

    As Week 8 approaches, the Wild Card standings are growing larger and larger in the back of players’ minds. There are a handful of games this weekend that play very much into the playoff picture.

    Fans, take this opportunity to plop on the couch with your pants off and a cold beer in hand, and enjoy America’s new pastime free from worry and stress of Mike Martz play calls.

    These are five games Bears fans should keep a close eye on this Sunday:

Minnesota Vikings vs. Carolina Panthers

1 of 5

    They’re a bad team. Let’s be frank about it. The Minnesota Vikings suck.

    The addition of Christian Ponder at quarterback makes them somewhat exciting simply because of the “shiny new” factor.

    This particular game doesn’t impact the Bears in the immediate feature, as the Vikings rematch isn’t until the end of the season, but it will be informative.

    Bears fans can get a look at Ponder and see how he operates an offense for a full 60 minutes. In the Sunday night blowout, Ponder played only a portion of the fourth quarter.

    Plusis Adrian Peterson still missing in the offensive planning?

Detroit Lions vs. Denver Broncos

2 of 5

    This could end up being one of the exciting games of the weekend.

    National media will be pumping up Tim “Passion of the Christ” Tebow and whether or not he’ll break 30 passing yards in the first half against a ferocious defensive line.

    For Bears fans, it’s all eyes on Mathew Stafford and Calvin Johnson.

    Stafford suffered a minor injury to his leg last week against Atlanta. The fact he made it seven weeks into the season and didn’t break something yet is a miracle. If this injury happens to impact his performance in one way or another, Chicago must obliterate it.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles

3 of 5

    This matchup is a “must see” because both teams playing directly impact the Bears. Chicago will be in a Wild Card race with one or both of these squads.

    The NFC East has turned into a year of mediocre teams that have major flaws in their rosters. The New York Giants currently lead the division with just a 4-2 mark. Everyone else is 3-3 or 2-4.

    Additionally, Chicago gets the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 9 on Monday Night Football. This will be a game to scout to see what Mike Vick can do in 2011 and how the Cowboys operate since the Bears don’t play them head-to-head.

Miami Dolphins vs. New York Giants

4 of 5

    The Miami Dolphins don’t matter in this game whatsoever. The important team is the aforementioned Giants, who currently sit atop the NFC East.

    Just like the Cowboys-Eagles game, Chicago may be going up against one of these teams in the Wild Card standings.

    Based on the preseason game these two played in the New Meadowlands, the Giants would be able to run the ball down their throats. The combination of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs would cause all sorts of problems the second time around too.

    Bears fans, root for the Cowboys to win the East. They’re all sorts of bad.

New Orleans Saints vs. St. Louis Rams

5 of 5

    This game is a bit of a far stretch as far as importance goes. Here’s the logic, though.

    If Atlanta or Tampa Bay were to get hot and jump New Orleans in the NFC South standings, the Bears would be going against the Saints for a Wild Card. That game from Week 2 could make all the difference.

    Knowing that the Saints just dropped a 62-point bomb on the Indianapolis Colts doesn’t make that case seem likely, but in today’s NFL, where any team can win on any given Sunday, who knows?

    Chicago should actually be rooting for New Orleans to win the South. If they win the division, that head-to-head loss doesn’t matter in the fight for one of the two coveted Wild Carp spots.


    Brett Lyons is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand or from official interview materials.

    Follow Brett Lyons on Twitter @BrettLyons670.