Going into Week 10, the Chicago Bears were 7-1 and winners of six straight games, and they looked like a legitimate Super Bowl contender. But things can change in a hurry in the NFL.
As we head into Week 15, the Bears have lost two games in a row to playoff contenders trailing them in the standings (the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks) and four out of five overall. Their confidence is clearly shaken. They haven't shown the ability to finish and win close games. Also telling: The Bears had the easiest first-half schedule in the league and have the most difficult second-half schedule.
While the injuries are piling up (including QB Jay Cutler's sore neck) and a big divisional game looms Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, the Bears should be able to claim a playoff spot for only the second time since 2007.
Let's take a look at some of the problems they'll have to shore up these last three weeks in order to secure a playoff spot and have any chance of postseason success.
Inconsistent QB play
At this point in his career, you know what you're going to get from Cutler. He has the ability to throw a perfect 12-yard hitch route before the receiver gets out of his break. But he'll also throw into triple coverage downfield for a costly interception instead of living to play another down.