I've been hesitant on comparing this season's Bears team to the '06 team that made it to the Super Bowl. After clinching the NFC North, I thought it might be worth a look.
When comparing both teams, I looked at combined stats up to week 15. I ignored where they ranked in comparison to the entire league.
Category: 2010 vs. 2006, Advantage
Points for: 293 - 394, '06
The '06 team lit teams up, especially early in the season. Just like this season, the '06 team benefited from excellent field position but the '06 team scored 101 more points than this team. The main difference between both teams was that the '06 team converted.
Points allowed: 242 - 208, '06
The '06 team was stingier than the '10 team. Out of all defensive statistics, this is probably the most important.
First downs for: 234 - 265, '06
The '10 team has had its trouble with converting on third downs, especially before the bye week. They have been much better as of late, but the '06 team was more efficient, consistent and sustained longer drives.
First downs allowed: 244 - 220, '06
As good as the '10 defense, the '06 defense is better at stopping drives cold. This is also reflective on how many points both teams have given up.
Turnovers (offense): 28 - 30, '10
The '06 team, lead by Rex Grossman, turned the ball more often than this team. Not surprising. This season, Cutler has improved on taking care of the ball, even though he could still do a little better.
Turnovers (defense): 31 - 42, '06
As many turnovers as the '10 team has, the '06 seemed light years ahead of causing turnovers. This is another stat that shows how dominant the '06 team was.
Passing yards for: 2696 - 2862, '06
Yes, you read this stat right. Grossman has thrown for more yards than Jay Cutler. Cutler has played in one less game and has been sacked more than Grossman at this point in the season.
Passing yards allowed: 3095 - 2580, '06
This year's Bears have allowed more passing yards than the '06 team. Again, the '06 team thoroughly dominated and handcuffed opposing offenses.
Rushing yards for: 1386 - 1667, '06
The '10 Bears have struggled to run the ball earlier in the season, probably because of the lack of balance and not because they couldn't. The '06 team's run-pass ratio was more balanced and they were committed to running the ball throughout the season.
Rushing yards allowed: 1257 - 1426, '10
This season, no one has been able to run against the Bears defense and it's a testament to how disruptive the defensive line is.
By looking at these 10 statistical categories, the '06 was a better team overall as indicated by the difference of their record. At this point in the season the '06 Bears were 12-2, while the current team is 10-4. The '06 team peaked at the very beginning of the season and more importantly in the playoffs. The current, I believe, hasn't peaked at all. Let's hope they play their very best football starting now and throughout the playoffs.