Our colleagues at SB Nation Atlanta post, each week, their Unbiased NFL Power Rankings, which result from a mathematical formula ... that they don't reveal on the site. Anyway, the Bears moved up four spots in that ranking to eighth overall, behind the Saints and, significantly, several points ahead of the Packers, who rank ninth.
That's in contrast to SI.com's Peter King, whose Fine Fifteen ranking also moved the Bears up four places from last week -- all the way to fifth; King rates only the Falcons, Patriots, Jets and Packers ahead of the Bears. That's important, because the Bears will play three of those four teams in upcoming weeks. In the SB Nation Atlanta ranking, the Falcons are first -- we can't accuse them of bias because the Falcons do, right now, look like the best team in the league -- the Patriots second, and the Jets fifth.
Does this mean the Bears are a lock for the playoffs? The SB Nation Atlanta ranking has them playing the Packers at home in the first round -- that would mean back-to-back games against the Pack. If you read this NFL.com article, you get a more pessimistic prognostication -- writer Pat Kirwan has them going 2-3 the rest of the way, finishing 10-6, losing the division to the Packers and the wild card to the Giants, who hold a tiebreaker (head-to-head meeting) over the Bears.The Bears should, however, if these rankings are any indication, win next Sunday against the Lions in Detroit. The Lions rank 29th in the SB Nation Atlanta rankings, and of course come nowhere near the "Fine Fifteen". We'll find out at noon Sunday.