Week 6 of the NFL season was almost an extremely beneficial week for the Chicago Bears, despite the fact the Bears were on a bye. As it stands, the Bears benefited in a few direct ways, as well as a few indirect ways.
The Minnesota Vikings' loss to the Washington Redskins was easily the most direct benefit the Bears enjoyed on their bye week. I can't say many of us predicted the Vikings to be where they are, but the loss to Washington might help bring them back to earth a bit. With the Bears sitting at 4-1, the Vikings were the only team in the NFC North that was up with the Bears. While I surmise the Green Bay Packers will ultimately be there in the end, for now, a Vikings' loss is big for the Bears. At the very least, the Bears will be in first place until at least next Monday.
The Dallas Cowboys' loss to the Baltimore Ravens was a little more of an indirect benefit, but it was a benefit nonetheless. Out of conference games are a slam dunk place to gain in the standings. If the opposite conference wins, then it doesn't hurt you at all, but hurts the team that lost in your conference. While the Cowboys aren't in the NFC North, they figure to be in the wild card hunt as the season gets later and later. As a Bears fan, I am of course hoping for the Bears to win the division, but knowing how good the teams in the North are, that is hardly an easy task. Quite easily, the Bears could be relegated to fight for a wild card spot. I don't mind seeing any of those possible opponents getting beat in non-conference games.
The St. Louis Rams' loss to the Miami Dolphins and the Arizona Cardinals' loss to the Buffalo Bills are both huge as well. Despite the San Francisco 49ers getting demolished by the New York Giants, I still see them as the class of the NFC West --though I can happily (for now) admit to having picked the Seattle Seahawks to win the division at the beginning of the season. For the Bears, both the Rams and Cardinals should be teams batting for one of those wild card slots. Much like the Cowboys' loss, these losses do matter for the Bears. They also matter for teams like the Packers (who are better than their 3-3 record) who are battling back into position.
Even the Detroit Lions' win over the Philadelphia Eagles helped the Bears --namely because the Bears have their own crack at the Lions next Monday night. After watching the Giants' performance against the 49ers, I find it increasingly difficult to pick any other team to win the NFC East. If I believe that (which I do), then the Eagles are yet another team that will be fighting for a wild card slot. If the Bears can beat the Lions next Monday night, then the Lions' win over the Eagles won't matter much from a Bears' perspective.
When your team is on bye (worst week ever, no?), you have to dig a little harder and focus on how all the other games will affect your team. Despite the Packers and Lions pulling out (quality) wins, the Bears still managed to benefit substantially.
Brian is a lifelong Chicago Bears fan, having lived in Illinois his entire life and having followed the NFL throughout.Sources
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Chicago Bears
- Chicago Bears