Michael Bush: Chicago Bears Will Still Make Playoffs Without Goal-Line RB

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IDecember 18, 2012

Nov 25, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears running back Michael Bush (29) prior to a game against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears endured a devastating loss on Tuesday when goal-line running back Michael Bush was placed on injured reserve with a rib injury, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.

Or perhaps it's not so devastating, after all.

As ESPN points out, Bush was relied on in goal-to-go situations this season, primarily because Matt Forte has never been an effective goal-line back. Case in point: Forte had three chances from the Green Bay Packers' 5-yard line to score last week and failed to convert.

Now that Bush is out, there is understandably some concern resonating throughout Chicago, especially considering the Bears are currently 8-6 and outside of the playoff picture.

But the Bears will still win out and capture a wild-card spot. Why? Because, quite simply, their remaining opponents stink.

The Bears visit the 5-9 Arizona Cardinals and 4-10 Detroit Lions next. They've already beaten the Lions this season.

More importantly, the Cardinals and Lions have had trouble stopping the run this season, meaning the loss of Bush may not be as crippling. Arizona and Detroit rank 19th and 27th, respectively, in yards per carry allowed this season. Each has allowed at least 10 rushing touchdowns on the year.

And while Chicago's run defense hasn't been as good this season as in 2011, the Cardinals and Lions rank 32nd and 23rd, respectively, in rushing yards per game. It's not like that is a big part of their offenses.

Then you look at the 8-6 Minnesota Vikings, who currently hold the NFC's No. 6 seed and win the tiebreaker over the Bears based on winning percentage in divisional games. The Vikings certainly have a dominant running back in Adrian Peterson, but they face the Houston Texans and Green Bay Packers next. They not only could lose one of those games, they could lose both.

The Bears have the inside track to a wild-card berth as long as they take care of business and the Vikings slip up. Sounds like they can still "score" without Bush in the backfield.


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