Chicago Bears: NFL Power Rankings

A weekly examination of the Bears’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 13 | Last Week: 4 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

Chicago fell from the top five of ESPN.com’s Power Rankings but remained in the top 10 at No. 9 after Sunday’s 40-32 loss to the Detroit Lions.

Interestingly, the Lions check in at 10th, moving up six spots from 16, while the Green Bay Packers stayed at 12th and the Minnesota Vikings rose from 26th to No. 24 after their 34-27 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in London.

The Bears rank below the 49ers, Dolphins, Colts and Chiefs, who are eighth, seventh, sixth and fifth, respectively.

Chicago deserves to stay in the top 10. The Bears committed four turnovers, including a fumble returned for a touchdown. With 47 seconds left to play, remarkably, they still held a sliver of hope for tying the game when Robbie Gould lined up for the onside kick.

All but one of ESPN.com’s panelists voted for Chicago to remain in the top 10. The club received two seventh-place votes, one for No. 6, two for No. 10 and one for 12th.

The panelists put the Bears in the correct spot here. They overcame a horrid start, and too many turnovers in difficult circumstances on the road, yet had a chance at the end.
A weekly examination of the Bears’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 13 | Last Week: 9 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The Chicago Bears passed a substantial test internally -- and obviously in the eyes of the public -- Sunday with their 40-23 road victory over Pittsburgh, and the panelists for ESPN.com’s Power Rankings rewarded the club with the No. 4 spot.

Off to their third 3-0 start since 1991, the Bears moved up five spots from ninth, with Seattle, Denver and New Orleans ranking first, second and third, respectively.

Elsewhere in the NFC North, Green Bay fell seven spots to 12th from No. 6, while Detroit moved up from 18th to 16th and Minnesota dropped to 26th from No. 23.

All but one of ESPN.com’s panelists voted for Chicago to occupy a spot in the top five, with two putting in bids for No. 3, two for No. 4, one for No. 5 and one for sixth.

The panelists made the right call in moving up Chicago because it faced a desperate Steelers team in Pittsburgh, and outlasted it in a game closer than the score indicated. Having taken a 17-0 lead in the first quarter, the Bears held off a fierce Steelers rally that saw the game get as close as 27-23 with 10:38 left to play.

Power Rankings: No. 9 Chicago Bears

September, 10, 2013
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A weekly examination of the Bears’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 13 | Last Week: 14 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

One game in the books and the Chicago Bears earned a spot in the top 10 (No. 9) of ESPN.com’s Power Rankings by virtue of their 24-21 come-from-behind victory over the 10th-ranked Cincinnati Bengals.

The Bears sit just two spots behind the No. 7 Green Bay Packers, which fell 34-28 to the top-ranked San Francisco 49ers.

So while Chicago remains tied for the NFC North lead, with Green Bay deadlocked for last in the division, the Packers are higher in the Power Rankings. The truth, however, is ESPN’s group of panelists put the Bears about right where they need to be in the rankings.

Certainly, the Bears put together a strong performance, but it didn’t come without a few warts (slow start, lack of a strong running game, no pressure from the front four). Coming into the season, the Bears' offense had finished above the bottom 10 in total yards only once in the past 11 years. After the Week 1 victory, Chicago’s offense checks in at No. 20 (323-yard average).

So it appears the arrow is pointing up for the Bears. But undoubtedly for new coach Marc Trestman and his evolving offense, there’s still work to do.

Power Rankings: Bears climb the ladder

September, 13, 2011
9/13/11
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Matt ForteJonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesThe Bears like the underdog role, but that's not going to fit after games like Sunday.
The Chicago Bears finally moved into the Top 10 of ESPN.com's NFL Power Rankings by virtue of Sunday's 30-12 thumping of the Atlanta Falcons.

The Bears moved up six spots from No. 13 to No. 7, after smashing the previously sixth-ranked Falcons, who tumbled in the rankings to No. 11.

The highly regarded NFC South lost all four of its opening-week games, with three of those defeats coming courtesy of the NFC North. The Bears dropped Atlanta, the Lions defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Packers toppled the Saints.

The Packers remained at No. 1, while the Lions moved up four spots to No. 12. The Vikings, meanwhile, fell four spots as quarterback Donovan McNabb put on a dismal showing in a 24-17 loss to the San Diego Chargers.

The Washington Redskins made the most significant positive jump, rising to 19th after starting the season at No. 28. The Indianapolis Colts fell from No. 23 to 29. The Cardinals moved up five spots from No. 21, while the Seahawks and Steelers fell six and five spots, respectively, to No. 31 and No. 8.

With another difficult matchup -- this time on the road against the No. 6 Saints -- the Bears might have a legitimate shot at moving into next week's top five. Then, any talk about disrespect concerning the Bears should come to an end.

Not enough love for Bears' Smith

April, 5, 2011
4/05/11
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[+] EnlargeLovie Smith
Jerry Lai/US PresswireNo respect? Even after winning another NFC North title and earning a contract extension, Lovie Smith's job security was questioned by a reporter.
Maybe it's nitpicky to expect a higher ranking for Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith, but it's definitely worth mentioning that his team beat three of the names listed above him in the ESPN top 10 list of NFL coaches.

Checking in at No. 8 on the list, Smith defeated No. 3 Andy Reid's Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 28, No. 4 Mike McCarthy's Green Bay Packers on Sept. 27 and No. 7 Rex Ryan's New York Jets on Dec. 26.

That's not to say that Smith deserves a higher ranking than McCarthy, who beat Smith and the Bears twice en route to winning Super Bowl XLV. McCarthy should definitely be ranked higher than Smith. In fact, the Packers coach should also be ahead of No. 1 Bill Belichick, No. 2 Mike Tomlin (didn't McCarthy just beat him?), Reid and everyone else in the top 10 by virtue of his recent Lombardi Trophy acquisition.

Still, Smith probably deserves to at least be placed ahead of Reid, and No. 5 Sean Payton -- whose team lost in the opening round of the playoffs to an opponent the Bears smashed -- in addition to the brash Ryan, who couldn't squeeze out a victory at Soldier Field with his team's playoff hopes on the line.

Perhaps this shouldn't come as a surprise, though. After all, just hours after Smith signed a three-year extension to remain coach of the Bears in the wake of an 11-5 season and NFC championship berth, one of the first questions in the ensuing press conference was whether 2011 was a make-or-break year for him.

Huh?

Smith laughed at the notion during the NFL owners meetings in March, but the objective -- regardless of his new contract situation -- hasn't changed.

“I'm not just giving you talk. It's always about the next year, always,” Smith said. “Winning. You have to win to stay the following year or… that really doesn't matter. It's only about that. I've always looked at it as it's just that -- that next year -- and trying to win it all. And that's where we are.”

Anyway, we'd be remiss not to mention the fact that Smith finished 2010 with a 3-5 record against coaches listed among the league's top 10 by an average margin of 12 points in losses to Belichick, McCarthy, Tom Coughlin at No. 6, and No. 10 Mike Shanahan.

Still, we contend Smith, who is coming off his third NFC North title, deserves to be a spot or two higher on the list.

What do you think?

Power Rankings: Where's the Bears love?

September, 21, 2010
9/21/10
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Jay CutlerMatthew Emmons/US PresswireJay Cutler and the Bears can take a big leap in the Power Rankings with a win Monday.
Deservedly, the Bears made the most significant climb of the week in Tuesday's installment of ESPN.com's Power Rankings.

But it's debatable whether the jump was sufficient, given what the Bears accomplished in overcoming early adversity on the road against what was supposed to be a tough opponent. Not to mention the fact the Bears are one of just three undefeated teams (Tampa Bay and Kansas City) not ranked in the top 10.

Just last week, the Bears -- despite a victory over the Detroit Lions -- slipped down a spot to No. 22. Interestingly, this week, the Eagles defeated those same Lions and moved up two spots.

Where's the love?

Six teams (Colts, Jets, Ravens, Patriots, Falcons and Bengals) with losses on the dossier sit above the Bears, including one squad -- the Ravens -- that averages 10 points per game.

As for the rest of the NFC North, the Packers stayed undefeated and maintained the No. 2 spot after blowing out the hapless Buffalo Bills 34-7 to set up a potential classic matchup this week on Monday Night Football with the Bears.

Minnesota, meanwhile, saw the most significant fall in the rankings. The Vikings dropped 12 spots to No. 18 as Brett Favre and company continue to struggle through the club's lack of legitimate receiving threats. Sidney Rice's absence continues to wreak havoc on the club's passing game, and it appears the winless Vikings are on the verge of overdoing things with running back Adrian Peterson, who carried 28 times Sunday against the Dolphins.

Finally, the Lions remained at No. 29 after giving the Eagles all they could handle in a 35-32 loss. Perhaps the Lions deserved to move up after two close losses to teams ranked in the top 16?

Either way, the Detroit Lions are no longer the Detroit Lions, if you know what I mean.

Lions win drops Bears down notch

September, 15, 2010
9/15/10
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Just like here in Chicago, the Bears' Week 1 win over Detroit did little to impress the voters in the latest installment of ESPN.com's Power Rankings. Even after a victory, the Bears slipped in the polls, dropping one spot to No. 22. This lack of respect can likely be attributed to how close the game turned out to be, considering the Lions played the second half without their starting quarterback, and were one controversial Calvin Johnson call away from potentially pulling the upset.

Around the rest of the division, the Packers moved up one spot to No. 2 after their win against the Eagles. However, the loss of running back Ryan Grant for the remainder of the season certainly hurts the Packers' offense, especially when they face the Bears, considering Grant usually torches Lovie Smith's defense. Grant ran for 137 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the meeting last season at Solider Field.

Despite the offense sputtering in Saints, the Vikings only dropped one slot to No. 6. But if last Thursday night was any indication, Sidney Rice's absence at the start of the season will definitely affect Brett Favre's ability to move the ball through the air. Favre had success throwing the ball to tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, but seemed out of sync with receivers Bernard Berrian and Percy Harvin.

Finally, the Lions fell one spot to No. 29. It's tough to anticipate Detroit moving up the charts with starting quarterback Matthew Stafford expected to miss time because of a separated shoulder.

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