- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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Chicago’s move up the rankings represents rises by every team in the NFC North except for the Lions, which remained at No. 19. The Green Bay Packers came up a spot from eighth to No. 7, while the Minnesota Vikings moved up one notch from last week to No. 9.
The Bears certainly deserved to move up after another strong defensive performance coming out of the week off, in which they forced four turnovers while sacking Matthew Stafford three times. Charles Tillman headlined the defense’s outing with a lockdown performance on Calvin Johnson, who caught three passes for 34 yards despite being targeted 11 times.
In the upcoming weeks, Chicago sits in position to seize a few opportunities to move up even further given that two of the club’s next four opponents – the Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers -- rank just above the Bears (the Texans are No. 2 and the 49ers are No.4)
Seven teams, including the Lions, maintained their rankings from the previous week. The Atlanta Falcons stayed at No. 1 while Denver and Philadelphia held the No. 12 and 13 spots. Cleveland, Jacksonville and Kansas City held the last three slots in the rankings.
The panel of voters consists of ESPN.com’s John Clayton and Ashley Fox, NFC East blogger Dan Graziano, AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley and NFC West blogger Mike Sando.
In his comments on the Bears, Graziano said, “There’s no other defense in the league right now that makes life more consistently miserable for its opponents.”
Stafford learned that firsthand Monday night, when he wasn’t able to put his team on the board until 30 seconds remained in the game. Potentially more concerning for opponents is the fact Chicago’s defense hasn’t shown any signs of a decline. In fact, it appears the unit is still improving.
So what do you guys say? Is Chicago worthy of the fifth spot? Should the team be higher, lower?
Let us know what you think.
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