Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times thinks that there are ten indispensable players the Bears can’t afford to lose:
“The Bears are a legitimate Super Bowl contender — more legit than the 2006 team that actually made it to the Super Bowl. But of all the contenders for the big game, none has as small a margin for error as the Bears.”
I’m sorry but you can’t say in the same article, almost in the same breath, that this team is a contender for the big game and at the same time that there are ten players they can’t afford to lose. Injuries are going to happen.
I don’t think the Bears are a Super Bowl contender. My assessment is more in line with that of Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune:
“At this point I don’t expect the Bears to be a Super Bowl-winning team. I never did. But I think it’s possible they could be playing in the NFC championship game if things go their way. They are a good team. Not a great one.”
To his credit, Pompei has, indeed, been saying this pretty consistently since before the season began when I was pessimistically predicting eight wins. But even as they have surprised me by winning more games than I thought they would I still agree that you can’t call the Bears Super Bowl contenders while the offensive line is in the state that its in. They have to come together and perform better or the team is going to get run out of the playoffs pretty quickly. Even then I strongly suspect that they don’t have the necessary talent as a unit to go all the way.
I expect the Jets defense to be even more aggressive than usual. They will be an interesting test.