After 15 weeks of football, only the Patriots and Falcons have put together better records than the Bears. After demolishing the Vikings, and possibly putting Brett Favre out of action for the final time, the Bears are 10-4, NFC North champions, third in the NFL in scoring defense and in control of their fate when it comes to a first-round bye in the playoffs. But are they Super Bowl contenders?

Lovie Smith's team didn't crack the top 10 in SportsNation's Power Rankings until the week after Thanksgiving, and they can't seem to climb much higher than seventh or eighth, despite all those superlatives we listed. We know the Bears are going to the playoffs, but will they matter when they get there?

tn (chicago)

do you think this team can win a playoff game? i saw them outplay a better team than us (the eagles) and win; and i don't think that game was as close as the score implied, we were in complete control of that game. then the next week, we go out and lay an egg, didn't even show up against the pats. losing to the pats isn't so bad, but HOW we lost was painful. so yeah, can this team win in the playoffs?

ESPN Chicago's Michael Wright
Michael Wright

Tn, yes this team can win in the playoffs. I totally agree with what you saw. I don't think the Bears are as talented a team as the Eagles, yet they found a way to beat them. Then, when they played the Patriots, they didn't show up. Once the playoffs start, the slate is wiped clean. This is a team that already plays pretty hard. In the playoffs, my guess is their effort level will increase significantly. This team can win in the playoffs, but it has to play mistake-free ball to do it. The Bears are one of the few teams I've seen this year that has consistently (for the most part) played pretty mistake free on defense. Full transcript

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