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Has NFC North champ ever had fewer than 10 wins?

Posted Dec 24, 2013

Senior writer Larry Mayer discusses whether an NFC North champion has ever won less than 10 games, if the Bears will move Shea McClellin to linebacker and why Cornelius Washington hasn't seen much playing time.

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

When was the last time the NFC North champion had fewer than 10 wins? Watching the Bears, Packers and Lions, it seems like no one wants to win this division!

Peter F.
Downers Grove, Illinois

Since the NFL realigned into eight four-team divisions in 2002, this will be the first year that the NFC North champion does not win at least 10 games. Going back to the NFC Central, the last time a team in the Bears division won a title was in 1983 when the Lions went 9-7. Since the realignment in 2002, 11 of 96 division champions in the NFL have failed to reach double digits in victories. That includes both the NFC North and NFC East this season. Eight of those 11 teams went 9-7. The 2011 Broncos and 2008 Chargers both won the NFC West with 8-8 records, while the 2010 Seahawks took the NFC West with a 7-9 mark.

Why don't the Bears move Shea McClellin to middle linebacker? He has size, strength and speed.

Richard P.

I'm sure the Bears will consider all options with Shea McClellin and all of their players after reviewing the entire season on tape. But it's unrealistic to think that you can switch someone to an entirely different position with one game left in the regular season and expect them to succeed. So that's not going to happen at this point.

I was looking back at the Bears draft and I was wondering whatever happened to Cornelius Washington. He looked like he had great athletic potential, but he isn't seen the field much. Do coaches believe he can still develop into an effective end?

Patrick
New York, NY

Bears coaches still feel that Cornelius Washington can develop into a productive NFL defensive end, but he remains a raw prospect who needs another offseason with the team. They evidently believe that David Bass and Cheta Ozougwu give them a better chance to win as backups to starters Julius Peppers and Shea McClellin. Washington has appeared in only two games this season.

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