CHICAGO (CBS) -- It's four weeks into the season, and the Chicago Bears are essentially where the experts thought they would be: a well-coached but overwhelmed franchise already looking toward the 2016 season.
At 1-3, the team really had no chance opening with three teams that are nearly certain to see the postseason, according to Elo rankings created by the FiveThirtyEight blog.
Now, it gets interesting for Chicago fans.
The team has little-to-no prospect, according to Elo, of making the playoffs (4 percent).
It also is in contention for the top draft pick -- competing with the likes of Tampa, Cleveland and Miami, which fired its coach, Joe Philbin, on Monday.
Yet, the Bears' next five games are against middle-of-the-pack teams, according to Elo, creating at least the prospect of some competitive games.
The fact that four of the five games are on the road might not help. Although, in the NFL his year, home-field advantage has been a bit of a myth.
In Week 4, home teams were 8-6. In Week 3, they were 8-8. In Week 2, they were 9-7. Home teams were most successful in the opening week, going 10-6.
Does that mean that the Bears could play their way out of contention for a high pick in April? Lingering injuries, combined with their schedule -- even against a bunch of .500 teams -- would indicate that's unlikely.
Two late November nightmares against Denver and Green Bay should put the team right back in the running for a top-three pick and no worse than a top-five choice in the 2016 draft.
That makes that late-December meeting against Tampa Bay perversely interesting.
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