The Chicago Bears continue their slow but steady climb up various NFL power rankings, this week pulling in at No. 4 in an average of the three polls used here.
The 5-1 Bears, owners of the league's second-best record, moved up after beating the Detroit Lions, 13-7, in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated. Their defense is as good as advertised - just ask Calvin Johnson.
Here's how the prognosticators ranked the Bears:
- ESPN - 5. Last week: 6, same as previous week.
- NFL.com - 4. Last week: 5, up from 7.
- Fox Sports - 3. Last week: 4, same as previous week.
If the Bears can continue their defensive dominance and find some consistency on offense, they should be able to maintain their status among the league's elite.
Elsewhere in the North:
- The Green Bay Packers moved up two spots in two polls and one in the other; they're ranked 7th, 6th and 5th, respectively, and appear to be on a roll. Next: The Pack will have no problem with the reeling Arizona Cardinals, losers of three straight.
- The Minnesota Vikings broke into the top ten of all three polls after a 21-12 win over the Cardinals. I still don't know if this team is real - they're beginning to look it - but the Cardinals certainly aren't. Next: The Vikings host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend.
- With the loss to the Bears, the Detroit Lions are now ranked 19, 24 and 18 and things don't look to get any better. With their upcoming schedule, you can pretty much stick a fork in the Lions. Next: Maybe the Lions can beat Jacksonville, but then again…
Here's how the overall rankings worked out (remember, it's an average of the three polls used here):
1 - Atlanta Falcons. The NFL's only undefeated team. Last week: 1.
2 - Houston Texans. The Texans knocked the Baltimore Ravens out of the poll with a 43-13 blowout. Last week: 2 (tie).
3 - New York Giants. Number three seems a little high for a team that lost to Dallas and Philadelphia. Last week: 4.
4 - Chicago Bears. The Bears hope to take a 7-1 record into their November 11 matchup with the Texans. Last week: 5.
5 - San Francisco 49ers. The Niners survived a scare from the Seattle Seahawks to move back into the top five. Last week: Not ranked.
Sources: 2012 NFL Power Rankings, ESPN; NFL Power Rankings: How They Voted; ESPN; Week 8 Power Poll: Atlanta Falcons hold off Houston Texans, NFL.com; Brian Billick's NFL Power Rankings, FoxSports.com.
YCN featured sports contributor Steve Merritt is - for better or worse - a lifelong Chicago Bulls, Bears and Cubs fan.
Other Chicago Bears Commentary by Steve:Chicago Bears Inch Up in NFL Power Rankings: A Fan's View (October 16)