Just like last year, the Bears have reached the bye week with a 4-3 record.
However, unlike last year, this year the Bears come into the bye week on a two-game winning streak as opposed to a two-game losing streak. That's not bad considering the schedule they have played, but if they want to remain in the playoff hunt, they will have to get better in the second half of the season.
The struggles of the offense have been well documented, but they have looked better over the past couple of weeks.
The patchwork offensive line that looked miserable against Detroit on Monday Night Football has played decently in the last two games, but let's not overlook the fact that Mike Martz has finally made adjustments, such as using shorter drops for Jay Cutler and keeping more guys in to max protect on passing plays. These adjustments have definitely made a difference, but nevertheless the line has looked better recently.
However, it's not just the offensive line that has had its struggles—the Bears receiving corps has been less than stellar, to put it nicely. When your starting running back is the leading receiver on the team and has 17 more receptions than any receiver, it may be time to reevaluate the situation. Matt Forte is having an outstanding season, but he's going to need some help in the second half of the season from his receivers.
The defense doesn't get a pass on this either.
The safety position has been a big concern in the first half of the season, and if the Bears want to have any chance at all to make the playoffs, they must get consistent play from both safety positions.
If they can get better production in these areas, the Bears may be able to make some noise in the second half of the season and push for a wild-card berth.
The following are the guys who I feel need to step up in order for that to happen.