With the NFL week now complete and heading into Week 12 play next weekend, where do the Bears rank among the league's elite? Or is there even an elite? The Bears are one of ten teams that are 7-3 or 8-2, and how good are any of them, really, in this wacky year when a bunch of 3-7 teams still have a shot at the playoffs?
Two power rankings that were released recently deserve inspection. First, our colleagues at SB Nation Atlanta have put together what they call their Unbiased Power Rankings, a ranking determined strictly by math. As they say:
Each team is awarded five points for a win and five points for every game a defeated opponent wins. To measure a loss, the total number of opponent wins is divided by the number of the ranked team's losses.
Pretty straightforward, right? By that measure, the Bears rank 12th with 155.3 points. That might, given the current point totals, get them into the playoffs. The Packers, by that ranking, are seventh with 180.7 points and the Falcons, Eagles, Saints and Redskins rank ahead of the Bears. The Giants, who have defeated the Bears, rank 13th with 145.3 points.
Peter King's Fine Fifteen at SI.com ranks the Bears ninth -- that may be a little too high, as they rank there ahead of the Colts and Giants, both of whom are 6-4 but who have had tougher schedules than the Bears to date.
This Sunday's game against the Eagles, then, would be a statement game for the Bears -- that their 7-3 mark isn't a mirage and that they can beat a team that might be the best in the NFL right now.