Oct 31, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) looks to pass the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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The buzz has really begun to pick up for the Chicago Bears over the past two weeks. For the first time they feel the pieces are finally falling into place.
Key players have returned healthy on both offense and defense. Principal among those who began practicing again were Pro Bowl guards Josh Sitton and Kyle Long as well as nose tackle Eddie Goldman. Several players believe the big win at Soldier Field over the Minnesota Vikings was just the boost this team needed to make an improbable run in the second half. They aren’t just thinking a strong finish. Pernell McPhee and others believe if they “stay pissed” they can run the table and make the playoffs.
It seems like a long shot (and it is) but the schedule does offer some intriguing advantages they can exploit. In fact there is one very interesting development that should interest people. Specfically in regards to the defenses Chicago will be facing down the stretch. Most of them have something in common with each other.
They’re not very good against the pass.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 27th
New York Giants: 25th
Tennessee Titans: 20th
San Francisco 49ers: 11th
Detroit Lions: 19th
Green Bay Packers: 17th
Washington Redskins: 15th
Minnesota Vikings: 4th
In other words six of the eight opponents the Bears will face over the next two months have a pass defense ranked in the bottom half of the NFL. This means that Jay Cutler may be in perfect position for a November-December run that not only gives the Bears a chance at the postseason but a window into saving his job. Don’t forget most left him for dead early in the year after injuring his thumb. They felt the time had finally come to move on in 2017. That almost certainly could change if he finishes strong and the team keeps winning.
Cutler already has Alshon Jeffery and now will have Eddie Royal back as well. Throw in the balancing act of emerging stud running back Jordan Howard and this offense can’t be ignore any longer. If the defense continues to get stops like it has the past few weeks, then maybe this team really does have a shot at doing what was unthinkable a month ago.