Can Bears win the NFC North without Mitch Trubisky?

Chicago Bears

Mitch Trubisky may miss another game with a shoulder injury, but can the Bears survive if his absence stretches beyond that?

On short week heading into Thanksgiving Day against the Detroit Lions, it was no surprise Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky would miss a game with a right shoulder injury. Chase Daniel helped author a win with an efficient performance, while Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford threw two critical interceptions.

The Bears have solid command of the NFC North right now, at 8-3 with a win in-hand over the 6-4-1 Minnesota Vikings. They have a winnable game coming this week against the 3-8 New York Giants, and Bears head coach Matt Nagy told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network it’s unclear if Trubisky will play.

Nagy cited how the team approached the injury situations of linebacker Khalil Mack and wide receiver Allen Robinson earlier in the season, which stands to inform the approach now with Trubisky. Mack and Robinson both missed games against the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, and the Bears won without them. The Giants are on the same level in terms of win-loss record, and caution is surely going to be the word with Trubisky if there’s any question about his shoulder.

Without Trubisky, the formula to beat the Giants would be similar to how the Bears beat the Lions. Daniel has to play within his limits and avoid mistakes, while a limited bigger name quarterback eventually gives the defense opportunities. It might not be pretty, just as it wasn’t on Thanksgiving Day, but a win requires no apologies.

The Bears will be at home in Week 14, where winter weather could be a factor, and they’ll have the Sunday night stage for the second time in four weeks. But the Los Angeles Rams and the league’s No. 3 scoring offense (entering this week) will be an entirely different challenge for one of the league’s best defenses.

In Week 15, the Green Bay Packers will come to Soldier Field. The Bears’ chief rival has pretty much owned the head-to-head series recently, and the most recent psychological advantage took place in Week 1 as Aaron Rodgers engineered a second half comeback on a freshly injured knee.

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With or without Trubisky, the Bears should be able to extend their winning streak to six against the Giants on Sunday and get to 9-3 on the season. Trubisky is not setting the world on fire, with less than 170 passing yards in two of his last three games, but if Daniel has to start games against the Rams and Packers the Bears can pretty much put marks in the loss column.

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