The Bears are 5-1, fresh off a 13-7 Monday-night thwacking of the Lions. Since Week 2’s debacle in Green Bay, the Bears have won four straight, Lovie Smith has become extendable again, and Jay Cutler might actually be tough.
But here’s the pitfall for the Bears: the schedule.
Entering the season, the Bears had what appeared to be one of the easier schedules in the NFL based on 2011 records. They got patsies like the Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, and Minnesota Vikings (twice!) When pundits picked the Bears to go 10-6—even 11-5—it was as much for their Charmin-soft schedule as the impending bromance between Cutler and Marshall.
But a rising tide lifts all boats, right?
The Bears are rolling, but suddenly that cupcake schedule is a gauntlet after next week’s home game against Carolina and trip to Nashville. Do you see 5 easy
wins in the remaining 10 games?:
WEEK 8: Carolina (1-5)
WEEK 9: @ Tennessee (3-4)
WEEK 10: Houston (6-1)
WEEK 11: @ San Francisco (5-2)
WEEK 12: Minnesota (5-2)
WEEK 13: Seattle (4-3)
WEEK 14: @Minnesota (5-2)
WEEK 15: Green Bay (4-3)
WEEK 16: @ Arizona (4-3)
WEEK 17: @ Detroit (2-4)
That includes a brutal stretch of Houston, at San Francisco, Minnesota, Seattle, at Minnesota, and home to Green Bay, not to mention a late-season matchup against able-spoiler Arizona, and guaranteed grudge-holder Detroit.
Are we excited? Yes. The Bears are a good football team, and after the Texans-49ers-Vikings stretch, we’ll probably know for sure. But until then, let’s take a lesson from good-ol’ Jim Mora: