Bears competitive at midseason thanks to defense led by Akiem Hicks

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Here's a look at the first half of the season for the Chicago Bears and a preview of what to expect in the second half:

First-half snapshot: The Bears seemed to be headed toward another disastrous year when they started off 1-3 under quarterback Mike Glennon (who had eight turnovers in four starts). But Chicago (3-5) recovered in the second quarter of the season, largely thanks to a stingy defense that ranks eighth in total yards allowed. The Bears forced eight turnovers in their last three games of the first half. Chicago's defensive resurgence -- coupled with a solid ground game on offense featuring Jordan Howard (662 rushing yards at the midway point) -- gives reason for optimism that the Bears will be competitive in the second half. Grade: Average.

Midseason MVP: Veteran defensive lineman Akiem Hicks already matched his career high with seven sacks in only eight games. Hicks was productive for the Bears last year, but he has been virtually unblockable since signing a four-year, $48 million extension that included $30 million in guaranteed money. Hicks is turning out to be general manager Ryan Pace’s best free-agent acquisition to date.

Best moment: When the Bears decided to replace Glennon in favor of rookie Mitchell Trubisky, the No. 2 overall pick. Look, Trubisky's numbers at the midway point aren't great: 38-of-80 for 512 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions (66.3 quarterback rating). But Trubisky brings an element of excitement to the offense. Trubisky is still raw -- no doubt about it -- but he already has made a couple of big plays. That's more that can be said for Glennon, who turned the ball over way too much for the Bears to win.

Worst moment: Losing to Green Bay 35-14 in Week 4. That game was an absolute debacle from start to finish. It got so bad that Glennon even had a shotgun snap bounce off his leg that Green Bay recovered. Glennon finished the night with two interceptions and two lost fumbles -- and lost his starting job the following week. To add insult to injury, linebacker Danny Trevathan delivered a brutal blow to Packers receiver Davante Adams' head that resulted in a one-game suspension. The Green Bay game was rock bottom for the Bears in every sense.

Second-half outlook: The entire season hinges on how the Bears respond after their bye week in back-to-back home division games against Green Bay (minus Aaron Rodgers) and Detroit. If the Bears somehow get to .500 -- that has never happened in the John Fox era -- the schedule lightens up considerably after Chicago travels to Philadelphia on Nov. 26. San Francisco, Cincinnati and Cleveland all look like winnable games in the second half. The Bears might not be able to save Fox's job (12-28 in Chicago), but the final eight games should be interesting as long as the defense holds up.