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Arkush: Are some wins different?

Published: Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013 12:19 a.m. CDT • Updated: Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013 12:22 a.m. CDT
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler scrambles in the first half Thursday against the New York Giants at Soldier Field. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

ne after another Brandon Marshall, Jay Cutler and Marc Trestman stepped to the podium following the Giants game and told us, "Hey, a win is a win."

According to Marshall "When you start fast like that, you want to continue to go full speed. We didn't do that, but the good thing is we got a win."

Trestman made sure the glass is half full, explaining "It wasn't all pretty and we know that. That's exciting from our standpoint because we know we have a chance to get better."

But as the Bears prepare for a much-needed weekend off and then a full week of practice for the Redskins prior to their bye week, they left the Giants game having raised more questions about themselves than there were going in.

Specifically, while a win is in fact a win no matter how you get it, based on what we saw of the Bears against the Giants how many more wins can we hope for this season?

The Bears are 4-2 and at least temporarily alone in first place in the NFC North. Their four wins are against Cincinnati, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and the Giants, who have a combined record of 4-15. Their victories over the Bengals and Vikings weren't much prettier than the Giants game.

Their two losses are to the 3-2 Lions and 5-0 Saints.

These Bears can beat bad teams but can they play with good ones?

Left on the Bears schedule you'll find the 1-3 Redskins, 2-3 Rams, 1-3 Vikings, 2-3 Cowboys and 2-3 Eagles. While none of them are sure things, let's assume they win at least four, making them 8-3.

There are also two games with the 2-2 Packers, one with the 3-2 Lions, 3-2 Baltimore and at 3-2 Cleveland. Using the same logic, it's reasonable to assume they lose all but one. If it goes that way, we're looking at a 9-7 football team, a game worse than last year's 10-6.

That's just one of a dozen different scenarios that could come true, but the point is obvious. Based on what the Bears have shown in their first six games, that is who they are today.

Let's go back to Jay Cutler's take on the Giants game. "Little things, we won the game, but you kind of leave unsatisfied cause I think offensively we could have exploded for a little bit more."

Cutler's correct, they could have been better. But they weren't. The defense really struggled and there is almost no arguing that if Eli Manning hadn't been so horrible, the Bears lose that game.

Possibly even more disconcerting than that is what you find if you compare where the Bears are today to where they were Week 1 or Week 2. Did the Bears play better against the Giants on Oct. 10 than they did against the Vikings on Sept. 15? It would seem pretty clear they did not.

In fact, if you track the Bears from week to week from Pittsburgh to Detroit, to New Orleans and then to the Giants, are they getting better, or worse? They haven't gotten better.

Trestman's assessment of where they're at after the Giants game was "We're going to continue to find things we can do to improve our football team in all three phases. We're a work in progress. Tonight, we found a way to win a game and that's exciting."

That's fair, and I'd like to be a glass half full guy too. At 4-2, there are only five teams in the NFL with better records than the Bears. The future could be very bright.

The question of course is just when are the Bears going to start showing us how that's going to happen?

Hub Arkush covers the Bears for Shaw Media and HubArkush.com. Write to him at harkush@shawmedia.com.

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