Something might seem a little bit off about your morning routine today.
Wake up. Drink coffee. Remind yourself what time to watch the Bear – AHHH.
OK, there’s not a Bears game this weekend. Be cool. Take deep breaths. Act normal.
For advice on how to act normal, ask elsewhere (and share the advice with us).
The Bears have a bye, but you still can give your TV a workout with hours of great football. Several games have big implications for the Bears (4-1), who will enjoy their final day off while all three of their NFC North rivals play tough road games.
Here is a viewers’ guide to a Bears-less weekend.
Minnesota Vikings (4-1) at Washington Redskins (2-3)
This game will determine whether the Bears are a first- or a second-place team entering Week 7. With the Bears hosting the Vikings on Nov. 25 and visiting them Dec. 9, this is a great chance to scout Christian Ponder and his overachieving teammates. So far, Ponder ranks among the top 10 NFL quarterbacks with a 95.5 passer rating.
Detroit Lions (1-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-2)
The Lions have been a hot mess to start the season, and a loss today against Michael Vick and the Eagles would increase their deficit against the Bears to three games entering a Monday night game at Soldier Field. On the other hand, a win today in a hostile environment could give the Lions confidence to do the same next week.
New York Giants (3-2) at San Francisco 49ers (4-1)
Although this game does not include an NFC North team, it’s valuable to watch because a) it’s a great rematch of last year’s conference title game, b) both teams represent possible obstacles in the Bears’ goal of reaching the Super Bowl, and c) the Bears will visit Candlestick Park on Nov. 19. How does Eli Manning handle the 49ers terrific defense? What can Jay Cutler glean from Manning’s performance?
Green Bay Packers (2-3) at Houston Texans (5-0)
Make sure to save room for dessert after a steady diet of afternoon football. The Packers are desperate to climb back to .500 after a stunning loss to Indianapolis last weekend. A loss would put them 2½ games behind the Bears in the NFC North. Meanwhile, the Texans are one of two remaining teams (along with the Falcons) who have yet to lose, and their next prime-time game is Nov. 11 against the Bears.
WORTH A GLANCE
Indianapolis Colts (2-2) at New York Jets (2-3)
After an emotional win with their coach in the hospital, how do the Colts respond? And does the CBS broadcast crew of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms mention Tim Tebow more or less than 1 million times?
Oakland Raiders (1-3) at Atlanta Falcons (5-0)
The Falcons are 5-0 for the first time in franchise history and looking to maintain their hold on the top seed in the NFC.
Dallas Cowboys (2-2) at Baltimore Ravens (4-1)
If the Bears defense notched five interceptions and two defensive touchdowns against Tony Romo, then what will Ray Lewis and the Ravens do?
Buffalo Bills (2-3) at Arizona Cardinals (4-1)
The Bears will visit Arizona in Week 16, which will be here in no time. Keep an eye on the Cardinals’ defense, which has allowed six touchdowns in five games.
New England Patriots (3-2) at Seattle Seahawks (3-2)
The Patriots’ offense is No. 1 in the NFL with 439.4 yards a game. The Seahawks’ defense is No. 1 in the NFL with 258.6 yards allowed a game. Something has to give.
LOOK AWAY! LOOK AWAY!
Kansas City Chiefs (1-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3)
Trivia that no one really cares about: Brady Quinn is 3-9 as a starting quarterback.
Cincinnati Bengals (3-2) at Cleveland Browns (0-5)
If nothing else, the Browns figure to win the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
St. Louis Rams (3-2) at Miami Dolphins (2-3)
The Rams’ turnaround is a nice story, but this game means nothing to the Bears.
WAIT TIL MONDAY
Denver Broncos (2-3) at San Diego Chargers (3-2)
Peyton Manning has 410 passing touchdowns and counting, which is 10 shy of Dan Marino for second place and 98 shy of Brett Favre for the all-time record.