COMMENTARY | If you want to experience a rapid ascension, followed by an unpredictable series of gravity-defying drops, you could get a ticket to a Walt Disney park and ride Tower of Terror. Or, you could save your money and watch the Bears' trip through the various NFL power rankings.
I was fully prepared to find that the Bears had taken a big drop, but then realized that the bye week negated any significant movement. The Bears are actually in better overall standing than one would expect given the loss of so many starters.
And since there are only 13 NFL teams with a winning record, even the prospect of relying on Josh McCown in a matchup with the Green Bay Packers didn't faze the ranking gurus. Fun fact for the day: the Monday Night Football game between the Packers and Bears is the only one in Week 9 that features two teams with winning records.
That said, let's take a look at where the experts feel the Bears stack up.
Down only 1 spot to 14 on the Four-Letter's list, the Bears are king of the hill amongst the under-.500 crowd. Ron Rivera's ever-improving Carolina Panthers leap-frogged his old team, among others, as they jumped 6 spots to No. 12.
Frank Schwab of SC is actually more optimistic about the Bears than a lot of fans are at this point. So much so that he actually moved them up 2 spots from last week's 16.
Coach Billick has Chicago holding steady at Lucky 13, but his brief explanation sounds like he's preparing for some downward movement soon.
"Even Luke McCown thinks Josh McCown can't beat the Packers" reads the blurb on Mike Florio's ranking. Yeah, Luke McCown and about 200 million others; but stranger things have happened. Despite the dig,Florio still didn't drop the Bears below last week's rank of 15.
This is the prettier, more official-looking post on the CBS site and has the Bears holding steady at 12, despite Prisco's negative outlook on their future. Pat Kirwin's list is available on the site as well, and he's got Chicago sitting at 15.
Unlike the other lists, which are compiled by a talking head, this one is determined by a computer. According to the website, "WhatifSports.com utilizes its football simulation to rank all 32 NFL teams. To come up with the rankings, each team plays every other team 10,000 times. Teams are then ordered by winning percentage." The good news: the Bears only dropped 1 spot. The bad news: they were at 26 last week.
If we exclude the silly nonsense of compiling loads of statistical analysis from a simple computer and look at the human polls, we find the Bears with an aggregate rank of 13.83. And even adding in the 27 from the simulation, the average is still 15.7. Either way, this week's ranks could well be just a moment of respite prior to a free-fall.
Evan Altman is a freelance sportswriter with a wealth of trivial pop culture knowledge. He grew up in Northwest Indiana, where the Bears reign supreme. While he now lives in the heart of Colts country, you can hear his kids singing "Bear Down, Chicago Bears" every gameday.
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