Bears success hinges on defense and improved quarterback play

James Krause

The Bears are currently doing what few expected them to do at any point this season, leading the NFC North.

Simply by being in the position they are in this early in the season, the Bears can easily call this year a success.

There are still questions surrounding the team that need to be answered before the Bears can become a legitimate playoff threat. However, it is still questionable as to how the Bears stack up against the rest of the division and conference.

To start, there is quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Coming off a lackluster rookie season, Trubisky has been used well by new head coach Matt Nagy. With eight passing touchdowns this season, he’s already surpassed his total from last season.

The question surrounding Trubisky is if can he reach the level of other young quarterbacks. Throughout his sophomore season, Trubisky has been overshadowed by Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who is on pace to break records in his first year as the starter.

Trubisky’s most noticeable weakness is his poor quick decision making. Fans often find themselves holding their breath when he scrambles out of the pocket or pulling their hair out when he doesn’t pass to a wide open receiver.

While Trubisky has shown flashes of a great quarterback, he still lacks the polish to be great on a consistent basis. With time and the proper development, Trubisky can still become the franchise quarterback Chicago needs. Until then, he can play a supporting role to the running game of Jordan Howard.

The Bears have build this team around defense for the last several years, and they acquired their crown jewel, Khalil Mack, from Oakland. The team currently ranks highest in the NFC in points allowed per game, averaging just under 17 points.

While their early season success has been great, it’s their future schedule that should leave question marks.

Yes, the team has been able to keep struggling teams like the Cardinals and Seahawks in check, but stopping Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Foxborough will be the real challenge, and the Rams high-powered offense will pose a severe threat.

The true test for this defense has yet to come, with divisional matchups clogging the end of the season and creating even more problems the Bears will need to address near the end of the season.

In the last three seasons, the Bears have gone 4-11 after Dec. 1 and 3-15 in divisional games. With games against Green Bay and Minnesota coming near the end of the calendar, the Bears’ chances of becoming a playoff team will be on the line late into the year.

It’s hard to say after five weeks where a team will be in two months. That being said, if the defense can perform well against powerful offenses, continue to develop Trubisky and win important games against divisional foes, don’t be surprised if the Bears are shuffling their way into the playoffs for the first time since 2011.