First Place Feel?

Lake Forest - While the Bears sit in a tie atop the NFC North, there are some in the locker room that don't feel it's legit until the team has a winning record.

"You've got to get over .500 to start feeling more confident about stuff," said LB Lance Briggs. "We haven't even put together a series of wins yet."

The Bears are looking for consecutive wins for the first time since games 7 through 9 of last year. Taking care of business at home is a must for a team that struggles to win away from Soldier Field, especially against a Ravens club that may have more offensive questions than the Bears.

"We've been kind of looking for a spark," said DE Adewale Ogunleye. "Last year we got on a little bit of a roll too and we wound up winning three in a row. So hopefully we can start that now."

If the Bears can even their mark to 3-3 it would be the deepest into the season without a losing record since 2001.

"We're 2-3, we've lost 3 games," said Brian Urlacher. "Hopefully that's all we lose all season. We are in first place but it doesn't feel like that."

Each win will build confidence in a young team that's trying to learn how to win. Despite giving a game away at Cleveland in the closing minutes, the Bears bounced back against a divisional opponent.

The Bears are 2-0 in the NFC North, which gives them a leg up on the competition.

Green Bay and Minnesota are both 1-4 and will play on Sunday, meaning one will drop to 1-5 and the other will be 2-4. A loss by the Bears and Lions also leaves the winner in a tie for first place.

However, in the mind of head coach Lovie Smith it's too early to start thinking of such scenarios.

"We know there is a long ways to go, but to me the standings right now, it's great that we're there, but we're just trying to improve our football team," Smith said. "We'll look a lot closer at that once we get further into the season. Right now, I feel good about how we played last week, getting a win."

Although Smith won't admit it, the timing of facing opponents could play a key role over the six weeks.

Key players on other teams will not suit up in matchups with Baltimore (S Ed Reed ankle), Detroit (WR Charles Rogers suspension), New Orleans (RB Deuce McAllister knee) and Tampa Bay (QB Brian Griese knee).

San Francisco will be starting a rookie quarterback on arguably the worst team in the league. Carolina will likely be the toughest opponent during the stretch, but with the game being in Chicago it's winnable.

"We're in a good a position because we're on top of our division," said safety Mike Brown. "And that's where you want to be at the end of the season."

Putting together a string of victories will go a long toward security that.


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