COLUMN: Bears’ pursuit for undefeated season mapped, explained from week five on

By Frank Vanderwall

Week five is almost in the books and the Chicago Bears have successfully separated themselves from the rest of the league. After a 40-7 victory over Buffalo on Sunday, and with the Colts’ narrow escape against the mediocre Titans, the Bears should be the No. 1 team on everyone’s power rankings come Tuesday.

Chicago was again impressive on Sunday playing maybe the most complete game I’ve seen all season. It was pretty much as good as the Seattle shellacking they delivered last week.

Thomas Jones ran for over 100 yards, Cedric Benson scored two touchdowns, Rex Grossman threw for two touchdowns including another to his favorite target, Bernard Berrian, and the defense was again dominant – recording two sacks, two recovered fumbles, and three interceptions while only allowing one touchdown late in the fourth quarter of the game.

With their dominant start to the season the Bears have earned the right to haunt players from the ’72 Dolphins in their sleep until they lose. I don’t think they will actually pull it off because anything can happen out there on Sunday, but here’s a look at the rest of the road to a potentially undefeated season for Chicago.

Week 6 – The Bears play next week at the Arizona Cardinals. To start the season this was my pick for the Bears’ first loss. Unfortunately for Arizona, Kurt Warner looked more like a retiree greeting customers at Wal-Mart than a quarterback early this season. He has now lost his job and Arizona will struggle with a less-than-great defense and a horrid offensive line. No problems here for the Bears.

Week 7 – Bye

Week 8 – The Bears play the 49ers at home. No further comment needed.

Week 9 – The most disappointing team in recent history comes to Chicago. I’m sure Ronnie Brown will score his one touchdown on negative seven yards rushing in this game too, but that won’t be enough to overcome the fact that he’ll also fumble at least three times. Not to mention Chicago will be cold and the Dolphins will be too far out of the playoff race to try at this point; could be a blowout. Bears record: 8-0.

Week 10- The toughest three game stretch of the season begins for the Bears as they travel to New York to play the Giants. This will be a very close game and should mean a whole lot more for New York than Chicago. By this time the Giants will have their offense clicking on all cylinders. I think the game will be decided by how many big plays the Bears’ defense makes.

Week 11- Round two of the death trip. Chicago returns to New York to play the Jets. This should be the easiest game of their road trip, plus I’ll be in attendance with sweet seats to cheer them on. No problems in week 10. The Bears’ offensive firepower will be too much for the Jets to overcome. Bears win.

Week 12 – Doomsday and probably the best Bears game of the season to watch if you’re a huge football fan. The Bears and Patriots will be near the top of their leagues and defense will be the name of the game. I could see this one going either way. I’d start practicing my field goals with a frozen football right now if I were Robbie Gould.

Week 13- The Bears come home to play the Vikings. The only chance for Minnesota here is a letdown after the Bears’ long road trip. I don’t think it will be as close as the game in Minnesota though. Bears win comfortably.

Week 14 – The Bears go to St. Louis to play the Rams. I can figure out this Rams team and they can’t figure out the red zone. It’s not going to get any easier against the Bears tough D either. Grab Wilkins for your fantasy kicker, but count on a Bears win.

Week 15 – Bears play Tampa Bay at home. Another win for Chicago, I just don’t see Tampa putting up a fight.

Week 16 – The Bears play at the Lions. Hopefully their baseball team keeps winning or it’s going to be a depressing fall/winter in Detroit.

Week 17 – If the Bears are still running the table at this point I don’t think the Pack will have a chance of beating them in Chicago, but you better believe they are going to play as hard as they can.

Well there you go. I still think the Bears will lose a game or two this season, but if they can stay perfect after their three-week trip to the Northeast I think they’ve got a good shot at pulling it off. Just watch out for Brian Griese and don’t let his dad anywhere near the Bears; you know deep down somewhere he doesn’t want to let that ’72 season be matched by the Bears – even if his son is on the squad.