After the Bears allowed the Lions' Drew Stanton to post a passer rating of 102.4 in his second NFL start, you have to wonder what the Patriots' Tom Brady is capable of Sunday against Chicago at Soldier Field.
But the Patriots' 45-3 Monday night rout of the Jets should give the Bears plenty of confidence when they host the Jets two weeks later. Rex Ryan's team was exposed in all phases of the game. The Jets are 9-3, but their victory over the Patriots in Week 2 is their only win against a team with a winning record.
The Jets had to go overtime to defeat the 2-10 Lions and the 5-7 Browns, and they barely defeated the 3-9 Broncos, 24-20. All three of those games, and the Monday night loss to the Patriots, were on the road, which bodes well for the Bears.
But the 10-2 Patriots are the immediate concern.
Brady, 33 and a lock for the Hall of Fame, never seems to age or show any signs of deterioration, and right now he's as hot as he was in the undefeated regular season of 2007, when he threw 50 TD passes and only eight interceptions. He's thrown four touchdown passes and no interceptions in back-to-back games. He has gone seven straight games without being picked off, while throwing 17 touchdown passes in that span.
Brady already has 27 TD passes this season and just four interceptions, with an NFL-best 109.4 passer rating. His passer rating has been over 117.0 in each of the last four games. He sure doesn't miss Randy Moss.
But the Bears' pass defense has been solid all season. Before Sunday's aberration, Chicago had not allowed a passer rating higher than Michael Vick's 94.2 in Week 12. Only three opposing quarterbacks have had a passer rating higher than 78.4 against the Bears, who have permitted just nine touchdown passes this year.
Brady hasn't thrown an interception since October, but Vick hadn't been picked off in four years before he threw one against the Bears. During Brady's hot streak, the Patriots have scored 45 points in back-to-back games and over 30 in four straight.
For all the hype the Bears' games against the Patriots and Jets will produce, neither matters as much as the one sandwiched in between, against the Vikings, and the season finale at Green Bay. If the Bears win those two NFC North games, they'll be in the playoffs as the division champs, regardless of how they fare against the Patriots and Jets.
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