Playoffs? Bears, now 5-1, emerge as serious postseason contenders

4:29 PM ET

The Chicago Bears need to be taken seriously.

Look, Chicago has flaws — plenty of them. The overall offense, not good enough. The rushing offense, not nearly good enough. The offensive line, yikes. The quarterback play, inconsistent.

What cannot be disputed is the club’s record after six games. Following Sunday’s 23-16 victory over the Carolina Panthers, the Bears are 5-1 for the first time since former coach Lovie Smith’s final season in 2012.

Entering this season, there were 102 teams that started 5-1 since the NFL went to 12 playoff teams in 1990, and 85 went on to make the playoffs (83.3%), according to ESPN Stats & Information.

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Ironically, the Bears ended up missing the playoffs despite their hot start in 2012, but the NFL expanded the playoff field to 14 teams for 2020.

Add it all up; the Bears are in prime position to challenge for their second playoff berth in three years under coach Matt Nagy. For all the grief Nagy takes about

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