NFC North

NFC North Standings: Bears' loss to Eagles was bad, but it could've been worse

NFC North Standings: Bears' loss to Eagles was bad, but it could've been worse

PHILADELPHIA — It's really hard (maybe impossible) to find a silver lining in the mounting Chicago Bears' losses at the midway point in the 2019 season. Losers of four-straight games and owners of a 3-5 record, the Bears are stuck in a state of preseason football on offense, and a defense that's endured more than its fair share of responsibility to keep games close.

But fear not! It could be worse!

Sunday's 22-14 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles was just one of four defeats suffered by the NFC North. The division was otherwise swept by the AFC West.

The Los Angeles Chargers pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the week in their defeat of the Green Bay Packers, 26-11, and the Matt Moore-led Kansas City Chiefs upended the red-hot Minnesota Vikings, 26-23. The Detroit Lions, meanwhile, fell to the Oakland Raiders, 31-24.

On one hand, the Bears blew a golden opportunity to make a jump in the NFC North standings while taking out a potential wild-card candidate on Sunday. On the other hand, they didn't fall any further behind in the division.

Through nine weeks, the NFC North standings are:

1. Packers (7-2)
2. Vikings (6-3)
3. Lions (3-4-1)
4. Bears (3-5)

Next up on Chicago's schedule is the Lions. At this point, it's foolish to say it's a winnable game. But it is a week that the Bears, if they win, can at least get out of the division's cellar.

So, yeah. Chicago has that going for them.

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NFC North Standings: Bears in dead last after Week 8 loss

NFC North Standings: Bears in dead last after Week 8 loss

It's been quite a fall in the NFC North for the Bears in 2019. And the worst part? They still may not have hit rock bottom.

At 3-4 and with questions swirling around quarterback Mitch Trubisky's future with the team, it's not inconceivable to think this season could actually get worse. Chicago's 17-16 loss to the Chargers in Week 8 certainly didn't help and secured their standing as the sole resident in the basement of the NFC North.

The Detroit Lions (3-3-1) defeated the New York Giants on Sunday and while they have the same number of wins as the Bears, they also have just three losses. Yep, a Lions' tie with the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1 is what's pushed Chicago into last place.

The Green Bay Packers (7-1) kept their incredible season rolling with their 31-24 victory over the Patrick Mahomes-less Chiefs, and the Minnesota Vikings improved to 6-2 with their easy win over the Washington Redskins.

Chicago's collapse can't be overstated. They're 4 wins behind the Packers and we're only entering Week 9. It feels like an impossible task to catch Minnesota, too; they trail the Vikings by 2.5 games, and with the way Minnesota is playing right now, that gap may be insurmountable.

Dust off your NFL draft notebooks, Bears fans. This season looks like toast.

NFC North Standings:

1) Packers (7-1)
2) Vikings (6-2)
3) Lions (3-3-1)
4) Bears (3-4)

NFC North Standings: Bears are worst team in division through Week 7

NFC North Standings: Bears are worst team in division through Week 7

It seems like such a long time ago that optimism and hope were the feelings that best described the Chicago Bears fanbase. Optimism was bred from the talking points around quarterback Mitch Trubisky in training camp; Hope was the result of knowing this defense was good enough to win a Super Bowl.

Yet, here we are, seven weeks into the 2019 season, and the Bears sit at 3-3 and in third place in the NFC North. And it's not like they've had a few bad breaks, either. Nor is it because another team or two in the division is fool's gold. Instead, the Bears are a pretty bad club right now. They have the division's worst offense, led by the North's worst starting quarterback, and a defense that's suddenly drifted closer to a middle-of-the-pack group than the elite squad that was drawing comparisons to the 1985 team.

Chicago's embarrassing 36-25 loss to the Saints on Sunday makes it back-to-back one-sided defeats that were the result of an equal parts offensive and defensive failure. But it's impossible to talk about this team without bringing up the obvious and most necessary issue: Mitch Trubisky.

His performance in Week 7 was more like an undrafted rookie making his first career start than a former No. 2 overall pick in his third season. Sure, he was restricted by a shoulder harness and probably wasn't 100% healthy, but the Bears are running out of excuses for Trubisky. The boo birds were out in full force in the second half of Sunday's loss and it's a trend that will continue unless, of course, he rights the ship quickly.

His passes fluttered high and wide when they mattered most, and despite finishing the game with over 250 yards and two touchdowns, he was downright bad. 

And to make matters worse, the NFC North may have already slipped away in 2019.

The Packers walloped the Oakland Raiders, 42-24, to improve to 6-1. They're the class of the division, and if quarterback Aaron Rodgers starts to click like he did on Sunday (he threw for 429 yards, five touchdowns and had a perfect passer rating), Green Bay could end up being the favorite in the NFC.

The Minnesota Vikings defeated the Detroit Lions, 42-30, to improve to 5-2. The Vikings are now in sole possession of second place in the NFC North at 5-2.

The Lions, meanwhile, drop to 2-3-1, and are currently in last place in the North. That said, they aren't the worst team. That distinction belongs to the Bears, and it isn't particularly close.

You'll hear a lot about the Bears being 3-3 after six games last season, too. Unfortunately, this team is very different. And it starts under center, where Trubisky has taken a big step back in a season that he was expected to develop into Chicago's franchise quarterback.

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