Here's the difference not only between 4-2 and 3-3 but a last stand of sorts for a fair amount of realistic hope that this team can still contend for a Super Bowl, making a point of defeating another viable NFC team at home after a bye week. It's that simple.
The Bears offense that was expected to dazzle has instead fizzled, despite the additions of David Montgomery and Cordarrelle Patterson. This is Nagy's side of the ball, and his understanding of formational and tactical concepts was a major reason why he got his first opportunity to run a team. It's time to for it to show tangible signs of coming together.
It's not enough to simply stop the inexcusable regression and settle into some kind of managed-game system, because that would be moving the bar. We have to insist that Nagy and the Bears instead start scoring touchdowns like he said they would in the second year of the program. He promised better results than last season, not just an improvement on this sorry mess that we have seen for most of the first six weeks. Make it work.
So if not now, when?
The Bears' season-opening 10-3 loss to the Packers was jarring for those still riding the positive wave of a 12-4 debut season for Nagy that was undone by an infamous kick. Truth be told, the silliness surrounding Cody Parkey and the overblown farce of finding his replacement kept us from examining more closely the problems the Bears had scoring a sufficient number of points, an issue that then arrived with a thud and has stuck around.
Nagy has remained relentlessly upbeat through it all, regardless, continuing to project confidence that his vision will be realized. But as long as his vaunted offense continues to languish in a morass of penalties, missed assignments and predictable patterns, our ability to share his perspective is tested.
It's all fun when the wins are piling up and the major injuries are in everybody else's building. Club Dub and "Boom!" and magazine covers and ceremonial first pitches quickly start to seem empty when the outcomes disappoint.
Four wins in the first six games and clear evidence of progress toward bigger and better achievements should be a minimum standard for a Bears team that began the season with the expectations it did. That's what's here and now on Sunday.
Nagy writes "Be You" on his play-call card each week as a reiteration of a mantra, a commitment to living freely and trusting one's instincts. A requisite Bears win Sunday will go a long way toward defining who he actually is as a coach.