1. Chicago Bears (4-8)
It’s a team that has won two of its past three games and has actually split its final eight contests. The Chicago Bears have had an extra week to prepare for a stretch run that sees them play three of their final five games at home. Matt Eberflus’ team is certainly capable of being a playoff spoiler. The Bears have rematches with the Lions and Packers, as well as clashes with contenders such as the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons.
There has certainly been progress made on both sides of the ball. This team is a far cry from the club that closed out 2022 with 10 consecutive losses and the NFL's worst record at 3-14. Eberflus’ squad also dropped its first four games this season before turning things around with a 40-20 win at Washington.
Quarterback Justin Fields’ play has been head-scratching at times, but he has a stronger supporting cast with running back D’Onta Foreman, wide receiver D.J. Moore and emerging tight end Cole Kmet. The Bears rank third in the NFL in rushing yards per game and it’s been more than just Fields.
On the other side of the ball, Chicago has gone from the NFL’s 31st-ranked run defense a year ago to being first in the league in this category. The Bears have totaled eight takeaways in their last two games after forcing nine turnovers in their first 10 contests. The trade for Montez Sweat has bolstered the pass rush. These Bears could be a big problem for its opponents the final five weeks of 2023.