Chicago Bears: Let's Say Nice Things About the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings

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COMMENTARY | If there is one piece of advice that we in the sports world don't follow it's the eternal guideline given by Thumper in the movie Bambi: "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all."

More to the point, it's usually when we have nothing nice to say that we say something.

This piece wants to change all that from a Chicago Bears' perspective -- for the duration of this piece, anyway.

Rivals aren't all bad. And if we really try, we can even say pleasant things about them. I'm not talking about stuff like, "Aaron Rodgers is a great quarterback!" either. I'm talking about real, attempted-genuine praise for the teams that, on most other days, I'd want to see lose by 38 points.

Green Bay Packers
Maybe it's just a "grass-is-always-greener" type thing, but the Packers always look like they have things figured out -- even when their MVP-quarterback goes down for half of the season.

Mike McCarthy (82-41 career record) is, for now, the best coach in the NFC North and always seems to have his team playing competitive football. Other than the shellacking they took at the hands of the Detroit Lions (losing 40-10), the Packers never lost a game by more than 14 all season.

That might not seem that impressive, but they did it with Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien, and Matt Flynn playing quarterback for half of the season, and not having Randall Cobb or Clay Matthews for significant parts of the season.

It's also really, really difficult to argue that Lambeau Field isn't the best football stadium in the country.

Oh, and Aaron Rodgers is a great quarterback!

Detroit Lions
If the Bears shore up their defensive nightmare, they are going to be difficult to beat with their new-and-improved offense under Mark Trestman. But with Jim Schwartz gone as the Lions' head coach, I'm not convinced the Lions are primed to make a run of their own.

There's just too much talent on their roster for them not to make a run. It's always looked like a discipline issue. If Jim Caldwell can control some of the Lions' electric talent, there's no reason this team can't be in the division hunt for the next several years.

They also sport, arguably, the best running back tandem in the division with Reggie Bush and Joique Bell. They combined for 12 touchdowns and over 1,600 yards this season. When you combine that with a quarterback who threw for over 4,600 yards and 29 touchdowns (and the best receiver in Calvin Johnson), you really start to wonder how this team only won seven games (and only four the year before).

There's no way they underachieve forever, not with that defensive front four leading the way opposite all the offensive studs listed above.

Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings are a team in rebuild, which, once again, probably puts them at the bottom of what appears to be a competitive division in 2014-2015.

But we also all said they were going to be bottom dwellers in 2012-2013 and they ended up 10-6. They came back to Earth in 2013 with a tough season, but they still managed to beat the Bears, Lions, and Philadelphia Eagles and tied the Packers. They aren't total slouches, and that's with Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder, or Josh Freeman at quarterback.

A healthy Adrian Peterson is an easy reason to predict success, but with a few well-placed acquisitions on defense, along with a quarterback via draft, new coach Mike Zimmer (and offensive coordinator Norv Turner) have more to like than you might otherwise think.

I wouldn't be doing my duty as a Bears supporter if I didn't think they were destined for championships, but even with that bias in place, all of their division rivals have things to like and reasons to predict future success.

See, it wasn't so hard to be nice.

Brian is a lifelong Chicago Bears follower who thinks Phil Emery and Mark Trestman are going to win a Super Bowl in Chicago. Living in Illinois his entire life has given him an opportunity to closely follow the Bears and has soured him forever on the Cover-2 defensive scheme.

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