Chicago Bears: How Do They Fit into the NFL Playoff Picture after Week 12?

Matt CoanCorrespondent IINovember 26, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 25: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears raises his arms to quiet the crowd as the Bears go for a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field on November 25, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Vikings 28-10. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The panic has subsided.

The Chicago Bears picked up a big win against division rival Minnesota, Sunday, and are back in the race for the NFC North and maybe even the NFC's No. 1 overall seed.

The NFL is one week closer to the playoffs and this stretch run is going to be very important, especially in a tight NFC playoff race.

Chicago is going to be in the playoffs, it's just down to what seed and with what record.

Let's start with the easiest way for the Bears to make the playoffs: win the division.

Because the Green Bay Packers lost Sunday night, the Bears once again hold a one-game lead in the North and are in a good spot to win the crown for the first time since 2010.

The last five games of the season are going to be huge for both teams.

Both teams have relatively easy schedules and their Week 15 matchup will most likely decide the division. 

The showdown is in Chicago and it's a game the Bears need to win if they expect to win the NFC North.

If the Bears can go 4-1 down the stretch, it should be enough to win the division, as long as that lone loss doesn't come against the Packers. 

The worst-case scenario for the Bears is landing a wild-card spot.

They're currently sitting two games above the Seattle Seahawks, who they play later this season at home.

A victory in that game would all but lock up a playoff spot for the Bears and assure them at least a shot at the Super Bowl.