Kings of the NFC North? First-place Bears say it’s too early to watch standings
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Bears coach Matt Nagy chuckles at the notion that anyone can predict the NFL.
‘‘It always cracks me up when people talk about strength of schedule going into a season, and they put all these teams that they think are going to be so great throughout the year [and] all these teams are going to be so bad,’’ Nagy said Monday. ‘‘And then it never happens that way.’’
It hasn’t in the NFC North. The Vikings are one loss away from matching their total from 2017. The Lions have lost to the Jets — by 31 points — and the 49ers but have beaten the Patriots and the Packers. Since beating the Bears in the season opener, the Packers have beaten the Bills, lost to the Redskins and Lions and tied the Vikings.
At 3-1, the first-place Bears seem to be in good position, even though they won’t play another NFC North game until Nov. 11. The next four games they play will be against AFC East opponents.
Nagy, however, will hear none of the prognostications. It’s no different through five weeks than it was in the preseason, he said.
‘‘I’ll say the same thing right now, four games into the year: It’s great, it sounds good, but it means nothing,’’ he said. ‘‘We’ve got to understand that. We have one goal, and that’s to not look forward into any game past Miami.
‘‘And so with us being in the position we’re in, great. But it means absolutely nothing.’’
There’s never a good time to start looking at the division standings, receiver Allen Robinson said, though he indicated the Bears’ goal had everything to do with the NFC North.
‘‘It’s so early in the year; this is only going into Week 6,’’ he said. ‘‘There’s a ton of football left. Our focus remains the same, and that’s to win the division.’’
Tight end Trey Burton has been telling his teammates the same story for weeks. In 2016, his Eagles were 3-0 at the bye, then won only two of their next 11 games. The lesson: Don’t get too caught up in early-season results.
‘‘You always pay attention, but as of right now, none of that really matters,’’ said Burton, who won a Super Bowl with the Eagles last season. ‘‘It’s so early in the season.’’
He said there’s a fine line between paying attention to other teams and worrying about where they stand.
‘‘At the end of the day, all you have to do is worry about yourself,’’ he said.
Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch said he doesn’t even watch sports on TV — short of the occasional MMA fight — during the football season. He only will watch teams the Bears are preparing to play.
He said he was more worried about other teams in college than he is now.
‘‘Then I got to the NFL, and everything was so focused,’’ Lynch said.
Nagy has preached focus on the next game, not on the big picture, and running back Jordan Howard is listening. He said he doesn’t pay attention to the NFC North.
‘‘It’s still early in the year,’’ he said. ‘‘So we still gotta finish strong, come out and win the games.’’