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Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Power Rankings: No. 14 Chicago Bears

By Michael C. Wright
ESPN.com

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

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

The Chicago Bears hit the idle portion of their schedule last week but still fell back from No. 13 in last week’s ESPN.com Power Rankings to 14th as injury concerns and three losses in four games continue to put a damper on the club’s 3-0 start.

With quarterback Jay Cutler expected to miss a minimum of four weeks and Lance Briggs likely out a minimum of five weeks, the Bears face the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Monday night, and the club could slip even further down the rankings. After the matchup with the Packers, the Bears face the Lions and Ravens before a Nov. 24 outing at St. Louis.

Elsewhere in the division, two NFC North teams are now in the top 10. Detroit moved up from 11th to 10th in this week’s rankings after it defeated the No. 13 Cowboys with some late-game heroics from Matthew Stafford. The Packers also jumped one spot from ninth to eighth after a 44-31 win against the No. 30 Minnesota Vikings.

Three of the panelists obviously still believe in the Bears, as two gave the team 12th-place votes, with another voting No. 11. The other three voters placed the Bears between No. 14 and No. 16.

At this point, it’s still a little difficult to evaluate Chicago. But how the team fares against the Packers without Cutler and Briggs will provide a clearer picture of how the rest of the season might go. Even with Cutler and Briggs in the lineup, it appears the Bears are a middle-of-the-road team worthy of a ranking between 13th and 16th.

Without them, if the Bears win two of the next three, they should be in fairly good shape for a run at the postseason.