Bears off to best start since 2013 at halfway point

Bears off to best start since 2013 at halfway point

The Bears sit atop the NFC North and, at 5-3, are off to their best eight-game start since 2013. A good time for sports copy editor JORDAN J. WILSON to take stock and look at what lies ahead:

1. An energizing start to the Nagy era

Recent history has certainly given fans plenty of reasons to doubt a new face in Chicago, but Matt Nagy's first eight games at the helm has the Bears looking their best since they last went 5-3 in 2013. Four of their five wins have come without the Bears trailing once, while all three of their losses came by no more than a touchdown. More of the same in the second act could lengthen Chicago's narrow lead of its NFC North rivals.

2. Patience necessary with Trubisky

Second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky isn't there yet, and that's perfectly fine. Hence the term "second-year." While it may be frustrating to see his inconsistencies from week to week, or watch him break into a run any time he feels a hint of pressure, Trubisky is learning his second offense in as many years in the league. Seven interceptions highlight an accuracy problem that must get solved, but his 16 touchdowns this season are more than double his seven total in 12 games last season. Give him time.

3. Next test is an NFC North gauntlet

OK, now for the tough part. The Bears begin the latter half of their season with three back-to-back NFC North games, hosting the Lions and the Vikings before a quick rematch at Detroit on Thanksgiving. Not to mention they still have matchups with the Vikings, Packers and Rams before it's all over. Daunting as that seems, though, these games will be crucial in determining just how real this Bears team can be. Three wins gets Chicago to .500 for the first time since 2013. Win more than three? Well ...

4. Please, don't say the "P" word ...

Sorry, I'm saying it. Playoffs are a legitimate possibility for these Bears (I knocked hard on the wood of my desk). A big factor in making the dream a reality, though, will hinge on the health of Khalil Mack, who sat Sunday for the second straight week with an ankle injury. Not putting him on the plane to Buffalo seems like an act of caution, but the Bears will need him at 100 percent to stay in the chase.

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