Thanks to a little help from the fading Vikings, the Bears are back at the .500 mark heading into their Week Seven trip to London, where Lovie Smith's team will try to accomplish something it has yet to do this season — beat a team with a winning record.
Smith has pointed out that the Bears have a chance to be in the same position they were through seven games last season — 4-3 heading into the bye week — if they win Sunday. Very true about the record, but the circumstances for the Bears are very different than they were one year ago.
At this point last season the Bears had beaten the Cowboys on the road and knocked off the Packers in a Monday-night game.
This season, the Bears have lost to some very good teams, including the top two clubs in their division (Green Bay and Detroit). The combined record of the three teams Chicago has lost to is 15-3. Their three wins have come against teams that range from decent (the Falcons) to awful (the Vikings).
The combined record of the three teams the Bears have defeated is 5-13. Chicago doesn't have a win over the top competition in its division like it had last season, and the Bears were not looking up at two teams in the NFC North standings a year ago.
The Bears are a middle-of-the-pack team. There's a good chance they will be all season, but lose to the Bucs, and the list of playoff-potential teams with a win over the Bears grows. A loss in London gives the Bears another opportunity to lose confidence and makes the road to getting into the playoffs as a wild-card team more daunting than it already is.
The Bears will play five games between now and December and all but one of the teams they play is at least two games above .500. Only the Eagles, Chicago's opponent in Week Nine, have a losing record of that next cluster of opponents, but they're talented, dangerous and looking to make up for a slow start.
If the Bears can't beat the teams with better records than their own in October and November, they won't get a chance to surprise anyone come playoff time.
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