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Hard part's still coming, Bears fans

October 08, 2012|By Alex Quigley | For RedEye

It's been more than a day since the Bears ground the Jacksonville Jaguars into a grainy, lumpy paste and I'm still grinning like a lunatic. Although the game started slow, the Bears looked absolutely monstrous as they delivered the biggest margin of victory in Lovie Smith's eight years at the helm. At 4-1, the Bears clearly sit in the VIP section of Club NFL, and heading into their bye week everyone's getting bottle service.

It feels weird for me to be the guy saying it, but Bears fans need to slow their roll. The road to Super Bowl XLVII gets real rough, real quick.

The NFC has dominated the AFC thus far in 2012; with a 15-6 interconference advantage, expect to see at least one NFC team with a 10-6 record miss the playoffs.

If that imbalance continues, perhaps an 11-win team could be shut out (see New England, 2008). Even with the hot start, the Bears need to go 7-4 to keep playing in January.

And that won't be easy. I know, I know, four weeks ago I wrote in this space how the Bears' sked wasn't too difficult. Well, four weeks later we see Minnesota's a real threat to win the division, Seattle and Arizona are vastly improved with strong defenses, and Houston and San Francisco stlil are favorites to be alive come conference championship week.

After the Bears host Detroit and get two should-be-easy games against Carolina and Tennessee, every single week will be tough, and a 7-1 record easily could turn into 9-7.

Also, this would be a great time to remind Packer fans that at 2-3, their team probably will need to go 9-2 the rest of the way to make the postseason. Good luck with that.

So feel good about your Bears for now. They're officially Super Bowl contenders. But don't start making any exorbitant bets just yet. You don't want to be washing your buddy's car in a bikini all summer just because the Bears' schedule caught up to them.

Unless that's your thing. We don't judge here.

Alex Quigley is a RedEye special contributor.

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