The Chicago Bears entered the bye week in a downward spiral with a four-game losing streak. Coming out of the bye, things may get worse.
Things are very bad for the Chicago Bears. After starting out the season 5-1, they fell into a four-game losing streak and, despite still being in the playoff hunt, that is the least of their worries.
The offense has struggled all season long. Even when they won those games early, they needed explosions by the offense at the end of games to come away with those victories. They outscored the Detroit Lions 21-0 in the fourth quarter in Week 1 to win 27-23. They scored just 17 points against a putrid New York Giants defense and the defense had to mount a stand at the end of the game. Against another horrible defense, the Bears needed to outscore the Atlanta Falcons 20-0 in the fourth quarter to win 30-26.
When the Bears were riding high at 5-1, many in the national media called them frauds. Now, those same media members feel vindicated. The Chicago Bears offense struggled to score points for most of the games. During their losing streak, the offense practically shut down. In their first six games, they averaged just over 21 points per game. Even if they maintained that scoring average, they’d still rank just 25th in the league.
The Bears did not maintain that scoring average, however. During their losing streak, they average just under 16 points per game. Overall, their 19.1 points per game average is only better than the New York Jets (thank goodness for Adam Gase and the Jets). It’s been ugly for a while, and only now is the record catching up to the ugliness.
Things likely get worse after the bye week
Things don’t look much better for the Bears coming out of the bye week. This week, they face the Green Bay Packers. Despite losing to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 11, the Packers still own a comfortable two-game lead over the second-place Bears in the NFC North. There is also a matchup between the two teams in the final week of the season.
Normally, having two games against the team in front of you raises hope. That’s not really the case here, though. Chicago’s defense likely keeps the Bears in each game, but the Bears’ offense just cannot mount a consistent offense to win either game. Also, with all the negativity surrounding the team, they also have to deal with a six-game losing streak coming out of bye weeks. Their last win coming out of a bye week was in 2013 when they beat the Packers. That season, though, things were reversed. They owned the second-ranked offense and the 30th-ranked defense. This season, the Packers own the third-best offense and 17th-ranked defense in terms of scoring.
The Bears play just two games against teams with a winning record. Both of those are against the Packers. Again, good news, right? Again, that is wrong. Without an offensive line to protect the quarterback and open holes for the running back, they’ll continue to struggle. They have rematches against the Lions, who nearly beat them already, and the Minnesota Vikings, who already beat them. If the offense continues to struggle, those games could be losses.
The Bears have a game against the Houston Texans, who own a record of 3-7. The only reason they aren’t in last place in the AFC South is because that spot belongs to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are 1-9 and competing with the Jets for the top pick of next year’s NFL Draft. The Jaguars, coincidentally, are the other team the Bears play.
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Normally, this is a good schedule for a team to try to mount a playoff run. With the troubles the Bears are dealing with, however, one win is a good possibility. As bad as the Texans are, their offense is still over three points better than what the Bears have. Also, Deshaun Watson really wants to beat the Bears so he’ll do whatever it takes to beat them.
The Bears don’t look equipped to get into another shootout against the Lions. The Vikings will keep Chicago in the game because of their faults, but in the end, the Bears need to make a big play on offense in a key moment.
Unless the Packers completely lay down and allow the Bears to win, it’ll take a minor miracle for the Bears to beat them. That leaves the Jaguars as likely the only victory that is as close to a guarantee as possible. Hopefully, though, the Bears came up with some kind of miracle mix during the bye week.