In this week's edition of "Five questions," PFW publisher/editor and Bears expert Hub Arkush says the Bears are almost a lock to make the playoffs with a win over the Lions and makes his selection for the team's midseason MVP.
1. The Bears have put themselves in position to make the postseason, but do you think they will get there?
Arkush: I'm just not sure yet, but if they beat the Lions on Sunday they're almost a lock. The wild-card race will come down to Bears, Lions, either the Falcons or Saints out of the NFC South with one winning the division and maybe the Cowboys or Eagles, but I now doubt either one of them can get there. The Bears lose a tiebreaker to New Orleans, win it vs. Atlanta and Philadelphia and need the Lions game this Sunday to not lose a tiebreaker to them. The Bears' schedule is favorable the rest of the way … so it probably really comes down to this Sunday vs. Detroit.
2. Who is your pick for the Bears' midseason MVP?
Arkush: How can it not be Matt Forté? Brian Urlacher is probably just as deserving, but the defense hasn't won a single game for them while the offense has won a few. Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs and Jay Cutler also have been very good at times, but it's clearly Forté and Urlacher one and two for MVP.
3. What was the best decision made by Lovie Smith in the first half of the season?
Arkush: Finding a way to commit to his ground game. Nobody really knows how much struggle or push and pull there is between Smith and Mike Martz and Martz and Cutler, but the bottom line is had they not made that a priority the O-line would almost certainly still be a disaster, there would be that much more pressure on a defense that has been mediocre too much of the time and Jay Cutler would probably be in the hospital rather than under center.
4. What Bears player or development surprised you most in the first half?
Arkush: Matt Forté continues to surprise because he just doesn't appear to be as good as he is. There is no question about his ability based on his production, but watching him he never gives you the confidence an Adrian
Peterson, LeSean McCoy or Frank Gore does even though those are the guys he's matching carry for carry. I've also been very impressed by Lance Louis at right tackle the last few weeks and never thought Roberto Garza could make the transition from guard to center as seamlessly as he has. Garza is actually a much better center than he was a guard.
5. What Bears player or development disappointed you most in the first half?
Arkush: Roy Williams has become a punchline even as his production has picked up a little bit, the step backward Johnny Knox has taken is very disappointing, Henry Melton is as overrated as they come at the three-technique and what has happened to Anthony Adams? Clearly, the Bears are better than I expected them to be at the halfway point and my hat is off to all of them, but just as clearly 95 percent of it is due to Forté, Urlacher, Julius Peppers, Briggs, Devin Hester (at times), Cutler and Tillman. They just don't get anywhere near enough out of the rest of the roster to be considered a legitimate contender.
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