Emma: Despite problems, Bears in prime position

It's a lot easier to work on fixes when your team is 5-1, Matt Nagy says.
By 670 The Score

(670 The Score) Bears coach Matt Nagy would like to remind you that his football team is 5-1.

Despite the Bears' offensive struggles and the many issues that must be addressed to legitimize that record, Nagy is leading a team that's in first place and has the second-best mark in the NFC. He wants the Bears -- and anybody else who will listen -- to appreciate that.

"I’m going to go back to it," Nagy said. "Being 5-1, it’s a lot easier to try to fix."

If the Bears can fix a broken offense that ranks 27th in scoring and 28th in yardage and just create competence on that side of the ball, then Chicago can start wondering how far this team will go. With the defense once again playing at an elite level, what the Bears need from their offense to sustain drives and turn some of Cairo Santos' field goals into touchdowns.


The Bears are hardly the only contending team with problems, as a look around the NFL quickly reminds us.

The Bears' five victories matches the total of the entire NFC East, which is currently led by a miserable Cowboys (2-4) team. The reigning division champion Eagles (1-4-1) have been decimated by injuries. Despite being 1-5, the Eagles and Giants are one game back of first place.

Tom Brady and the Buccaneers (4-2) have arguably the most talent of any NFC team, and they just lost at Soldier Field on Oct. 8. The Packers (4-1) came back down to earth and fell into second place in the NFC North after a 38-10 loss to those Buccaneers on Sunday, when Aaron Rodgers produced the third-worst passer rating of his career.

A playoff team last season, the Vikings (1-5) are buried in last place in the NFC North and remind the Bears what they easily could be without a few big plays and breaks this season. Meanwhile, the defending NFC champion 49ers (3-3) are in last place of the NFL's best division. Even the Patriots are 2-3.

The Titans (5-0), Steelers (5-0), Seahawks (5-0), Chiefs (5-1) and Ravens (5-1) represent the NFL's top class through six weeks. Then there is that second tier below, muddied with contending teams trying to patch up some holes and rise. Count the Bears in that mix.

The Bears are averaging an abysmal 4.8 yards per play (tied for 27th in NFL) and 312.8 yards per game on offense. The four teams averaging fewer yards per play than Chicago have combined to win three games this season. Nagy has failed to establish a running game and provide quarterback Nick Foles with a scheme that best fits him. The offensive line is struggling once again. And there's no established second target behind top receiver Allen Robinson.

Nagy and the Bears won't be able to address every offensive issues, but turning just one field goal per game into a touchdown would elevate the Bears' scoring offense (21.3 points per game) to nearly even with the league average (25.4). The Bears know they need to showcase improvement immediately with the Rams (4-2), Saints (3-2) and undefeated Titans looming in their next three games.

Many teams in the mix have major matters to shore up in this NFL season. Like Nagy said, it's easier to work on a fix at 5-1.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.